Andre Alice Norton (born Alice Mary Norton, February 17, 1912 – March 17, 2005) was an American writer of science fiction and fantasy (with some works of historical fiction and contemporary fiction) under the pen names Andre Norton, Andrew North and Allen Weston. She was the first woman to be Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy, first to be SFWA Grand Master, and first inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
Alice Mary Norton was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents were Adalbert Freely Norton, who owned a rug company, and Bertha Stemm Norton. She began writing at Collinwood High School in Cleveland, under the tutelage of Miss Sylvia Cochrane. She was the editor of a literary page in the school’s paper called The Collinwood Spotlight for which she wrote short stories. During this time, she wrote her first book—Ralestone Luck, which was eventually published as her second novel in 1938.
After graduating from high school in 1930, Norton planned to become a teacher and began studying at Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University. However, in 1932 she had to leave because of the Depression and began working for the Cleveland Library System, where she remained for 18 years, latterly in the children’s section of the Nottingham Branch Library in Cleveland. In 1934, she legally changed her name to Andre Alice Norton, a pen name she had adopted to increase her marketability, since boys were the main audience for fantasy. Her first book was published by D. Appleton–Century Company that year, with illustrations by Kate Seredy: The Prince Commands, being sundry adventures of Michael Karl, sometime crown prince & pretender to the throne of Morvania (cataloged by the U.S. Library of Congress as by “André Norton”).
During 1940–1941 she worked as a special librarian in the cataloging department of the Library of Congress. She was involved in a project related to alien citizenship which was abruptly terminated upon the American entry into World War II. In 1941 she bought a bookstore called Mystery House in Mount Rainier, Maryland, the eastern neighbor of D.C. The business failed and she returned to the Cleveland Public Library until 1950 when she retired due to ill health. She began working as a reader for publisher-editor Martin Greenberg at Gnome Press, a small press in New York City that focused on science fiction. She remained until 1958, when she became a full-time professional writer—with 21 novels published. Kirkus had reviewed 16 of them and awarded four starred reviews.
Norton’s first published science fiction was a short novella, “The People of the Crater,” which appeared under the name “Andrew North” as pages 4–18 of the inaugural 1947 number of Fantasy Book, a magazine from Fantasy Publishing Company, Inc. Her first fantasy novel adapted the 13th-century story of Huon, Duke of Bordeaux: Huon of the Horn, published by Harcourt Brace under her own name in 1951. Her first science fiction novel, Star Man’s Son, 2250 A.D., appeared from Harcourt in 1952. She became a prolific novelist in the 1950s, with many of her books published for the juvenile market, at least in their original hardcover editions.
She wrote more than a dozen speculative fiction series, but her longest, and longest running project was “Witch World,” which began with the novel Witch World in 1963. The first six novels were Ace Books paperback originals published from 1963 to 1968. From the 1970s most of the series was published in hardcover editions. From the 1980s some were written by Norton and a co-author, others were anthologies of short fiction edited by Norton. (Witch World became a shared universe). There were dozens of books in all.
Norton was twice nominated for the Hugo Award, in 1964 for the novel Witch World and in 1967 for the novelette “Wizard’s World.” She was nominated three times for the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, winning the award in 1998. Norton won a number of other genre awards, and regularly had works appear in the Locus annual “best of year” polls.
She was a founding member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers’ Guild of America (SAGA), a loose-knit group of Heroic Fantasy authors founded in the 1960s, led by Lin Carter, with entry by fantasy credentials alone. Norton was the only woman among the original eight. Some works by SAGA members were published in Lin Carter’s Flashing Swords! anthologies.
In later years, as Norton’s health became uncertain, she moved to Winter Park, Florida in November 1966, where she remained until 1997. In 1976, Gary Gygax invited Norton to play Dungeons & Dragons in his Greyhawk world. Norton subsequently wrote Quag Keep, which involved a group of characters who travel from the real world to Greyhawk. It was the first novel to be set, at least partially, in the Greyhawk setting, and according to Alternative Worlds, the first to be based on D&D. Quag Keep was excerpted in Issue 12 of The Dragon (February 1978) just prior to the book’s release. She and Jean Rabe were collaborating on the sequel to her 1979 Greyhawk novel Quag Keep, when she died. Return to Quag Keep was completed by Rabe and published by Tor Books in January 2006.
She moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 1997 and from February 21, 2005, she was under hospice care. She died at home on March 17, 2005, of congestive heart failure.
Her final complete novel, Three Hands for Scorpio, was published on April 1, 2005. Beside Return to Quag Keep, Tor has published two more novels with Norton and Rabe credited as co-authors, Dragon Mage (Nov 2006) and Taste of Magic (Jan 2008).
1946 Plaque of Honour from Netherlands Government for “The Sword is Drawn”
1946 The Sword is Drawn becomes a Junior Literary Guild Selection
1949 Honourable Mention in the Ohioana Library Awards for “Sword in Sheath”
1951 Boy’s Clubs of America Medal for “Bullard of the Space Patrol”
1952 American Newspaper Guild Page One Award of Distingushed Books for “Huon of the Horn”
1963 Chiana Library Honourable Mention
1963 Theta Sigma Phi Headliner Award – (TSP is an international organization for women in journalism)
1963 First woman to be presented with the Invisible Little Man for Life Achievements (“sustained excellence in science fiction”)
1965 Boy’s Clubs of America Certificate of Merit for “Night of Mask”
1965 Child Study Association Book of the Year Award for “Steel Magic”
1966 Moon of Three Rings becomes the Junior Literary Guild selection
1974 Countess of Forlindon, Baroness Forlond, and Dame of the Most Noble Order of the Flame of Anor in the Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor (see The Peerage of Gondor and Arnor)
1975 Phoenix Award for overall writing achievement
1977 First woman to be awarded with the Grand Master of Fantasy (Gandalf) Award, at the World Science Fiction Convention
1977 Scroll of Honour – Fantasy Gaming Hall of Fame
1978 Norton Award
1978 Orlando Science Fiction Society Life Achievement Award
1979 Balrog Fantasy Award for Life Achievements
1980 Career Achievement Award at the Science Fiction Weekend ‘1980
1980 Martha Kinney Cooper Ohioana Library Award for Lifetime Achievement
1981 Inducted in the Ohio Women Hall of Fame
1983 Fritz Leiber Award
1983 E.E. Smith Award – the Skylark
1984 Nebula Grand Master Award
1984 Jules Verne Award
1986 Daedalus Award for Life Achievement
1987 The Second Stage Lensman Award, for Lifetime Achievement
1987 The Howard, World Fantasy Convention Award
1988 E.E. Evans Big Heart Award
1989 Noreascon Three Guest of Honour
1991 Science Fiction Book Club Book of the Year Award for The Elvenbane
1994 Scientificon First Fandom Hall of Fame Award
1997 Magic Carpet Con Award
1997 Inducted in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame
1998 World Fantasy Convention Life Achievement Award
1962 Hugo nomination for “Star Hunter”
1964 Hugo nomination for “The Witch World” (category: best novel)
1968 Hugo “best novelette” nomination for “Wizard’s World”
1972 A Nebula “best novel” preliminary ballot nomination for “The Crystal Gryphon”
1992 Nebula Award Preliminary Nominee – The Elvenbane by Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey
1995 Science Fiction Book Club Book of the Year Award nomination for The Elvenblood
1973-1998 Locus Award Polls – list of nominations Ms. Norton received