Alice Mary Norton, this is her birth name, was born on February 17, 1912 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Andre Norton started writing when she was very young in the school newspaper. She wanted to become a teacher and started attending the Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University, but because the Depression had to abandon his studies and began working for the Cleveland Library System.
Andre Norton started writing juvenile, historical fiction and adventure, then moved to fantasy and science fiction. In 1934 she legally changed her name to Andre Alice Norton, a more masculine name that seemed more suited to a market in which readers were mostly boys. In the same year she published her first novel, “The Prince Commands”. During her career she has also used the pseudonyms Andrew North and Allen Weston, not accidentally other male names.
Between 1940 and 1941 Andre Norton worked at the Library of Congress in a project related to the acquisition of American citizenship by immigrants. The project however was closed when the U.S.A. entered World War II.
In 1941, Andre Norton bought a library called “Mystery House” in Mount Rainier, Maryland, but she had to close it because her sales were too poor and return to work at the Cleveland Public Library until 1950. Later, she started working for the publisher Gnome Press until 1958, when she became a full time writer.
During the ’60s, Andre Norton moved to Florida and later to Tennessee because of health problems. In 1977 she received the Gandalf Grand Master Award. In 1983 she received the Grand Master Award.
On 20 February 2005, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announced the creation of the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. A few days later, on March 17, Andre Norton died.
During her 70-year career, Andre Norton has written a huge number of novels and short fiction, on her own or together with colleagues such as Marion Zimmer Bradley and Julian May. Part of those stories are collected in several series such as the Witch World one, many others are independent. Today a few of her works are freely available on the Project Gutenberg site.
Not only a lot of readers were influenced by her but several writers who started writing in the following decades were inspired by her in various ways. It’s for those reasons that Andre Norton was called the Grande Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy.