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Biography of Andre Norton
by Maciej Zaleski - Ejgierd*

Last updated:

To obtain basic information about Andre Norton, you should first see the article Who is Andre Norton?

    Alice Mary Norton was born on 17 February, 1912 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. She was the second daughter of Adalbert Freely Norton, owner of a rug company, and Bertha Stemm. Being a late child, born seventeen years after her sister, she never developed close relationships with her siblings or contemporaries and was influenced primarily by her parents, especially mother, who later on did all her proofreading and served as a critic-in-residence.

    Much attention was paid in Ms. Norton's family to books, the visible sign of which was the weekly visit to a public library. Even before she could read herself, her mother would read to her and recite poetry as she went about various household chores. Even the good grades at school were rewarded by books, namely by copies of Ruth Plumly Thompson's Oz novels. It was this fondness of her parents that marked her whole life. She started writing at the Collingwood High School in Cleveland, under the tutelage and guidance of Miss Sylvia Cochrane. She became an editor of a literary page in the school's paper, called The Collingwood Spotlight. As such, she had to write many short stories. It was at the school hall, where she wrote her first book - "Ralestone Luck", which was finally published as the second in 1938 (the first one was "The Prince Commands" in 1934). Also in 1934, she legally changed her name to Andre Norton (Andre Alice Norton, to be exact). She was expected to be writing for young boys, and the male name was expected to increase her marketability.

    After graduating from the High School, she continued her education at the Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve) for a year from the autumn of 1930 to the spring of 1931, intending to become a history teacher. Then, due to the economical depression, she was forced to find work in order to support the household. She took evening courses in journalism and writing that were offered by Cleveland College, the adult division of the same university.

    In 1932 was employed by the Cleveland Library System. Most of the 18 yeas of work, she spent as an assistant librarian in the children's section of the Nottingham Branch Library in Cleveland. Although she became something of a troubleshooter for the entire system, the lack od degree prevented her from advancing as her ability might have dictated. She couldn't change jobs, because there weren't any emplyment opportunities during the depression.

    In 1941, for a short period of time she owned and managed a bookstore and lending library called the Mystery House, situated in Mount Ranier, Maryland. Unfortunately it was a failure. At much the same time, from 1940 to 1941, she worked as a special librarian in the cataloguing department of the Library of the Congress, involved in a project related to alien citizenship, which was abruptly terminated by the beginning of the World War II. After Ms. Norton left the Cleveland Library System, she began working as a reader for Martin Greenberg at Gnome Press. After 8 years she left, totally devoting herself to writing.

    In November 1966, her uncertain health necessitated a move to Winter Park, Florida, where she lived until 1997. She is now in Tennessee, where plans are underway to establish a writer's retreat (see High Hallack project , High Hallack update and Interview). Her new address is:

        114 Eventide Drive
        TN 37130

Did you know that ...

Among the admired authors of Ms. Norton are:

    H. Beam Piper, James H. Schmitz, Susan Cooper, Edgar Rice Burroughs, David Mason, Alan Garner, C.J. Cherryh, Abraham Merritt, Cordwainer Smith, H. Rider Haggard, J. R. R. Tolkien, Evangeline Walton, Poul Andreson, Dornford Yates, Roger Zelazny, Richard Adams, Ruth Plumly Thompson, L. Sprague de Camp, Keith Laumer, Anne McCaffrey and William Hope Hodgson.

She is interested in:

reading history and archaeology, cats, needlework


    1. John C. Cocker III, An interview with Andre Norton, 1996
    2. Schlobin, Roger C. & Harrison, Irene Andre Norton, a primary and secondary
    , 1980
    3. Reginald, R. Science fiction and fantasy literature, 1979
    4. Clute, John and Grant, John The Encyclopaedia of Fantasy, Orbit, UK 1997

   Useful links:      Awards received     Creations     Ms. Norton about her writing

* If you wish to learn more about the author, click on his name.

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