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Fantasy author Norton dies

17/03/2005. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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Witch World novellist Andre Norton sadly passes away at age 93.

In later years Andre's health had proved uncertain; the author was forced to move to Florida in November 1966 and thence to Tennessee. From February 21st, 2005, she was under hospice care, with her health in precipitous decline. She died on March 17th, 2005, reportedly peacefully in her own home, with her friend and her cats at her side.

Norton began writing at the Collingwood High School in Cleveland, under the tutelage of Sylvia Cochrane. She was the editor of a literary page in the school's paper for which she wrote short stories. During this time she wrote her first book-Ralestone Luck, which would eventually find its way to publication as her second novel in 1938, the first being The Prince Commands in 1934.

After graduating from the High School in 1930, Norton continued her education at the Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University. In 1932 she began working for the Cleveland Library System and remained there 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 change made in order to appeal to a predominantly male audience and to increase her marketability. From 1940 to 1941, she worked as a special librarian in the cataloguing department of the Library of Congress, involved in a project related to alien citizenship. The project was abruptly terminated at the start of World War II.

In 1941 she took ownership of a bookstore called the Mystery House, in Mount Ranier, Maryland, USA. The business proved to be a failure and she returned to the Cleveland Public Library until 1950, when she began working as a reader for Martin Greenberg at Gnome Press, where she remained until 1958, after which she became a full-time professional author.

On February 20th, 2005, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, which had earlier honored her with its Grand Master Award in 1983, announced the creation of the Andre Norton Award, to be given each year for an outstanding work of fantasy or science fiction for the young adult market, starting in 2006. The eligibility requirements and award procedures will be the same as those for the other Nebula Awards.

She had a profound influence on the entire genre, having over 100 published books read by at least 4 generations of science fiction and fantasy authors. Andre Norton also wrote under the noms de plumes of Andrew North and Allen Weston.

For more on her work, you can visit

Thanks to for submitting this story.

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