This February, remember sci-fi author Andre Norton

Feb 09, 2022 at 06:24 am by Voice Wire

Have you met Murfreesboro’s Grand Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy?

Andre Norton, born Alice Mary Norton, on February 19, 1912, was a celebrated author of over 220 books with a writing career spanning eight decades.

Norton, who would have been 110 years old this year, changed her name in 1934 for marketing purposes; she also used the pen names Andrew North and Allen Weston. Getting published was difficult for a woman in the early 20th century, especially in a genre such as science fiction. Norton also wrote fantasy, historical fiction, westerns, and children's fiction.

Norton began writing in high school and was the editor of the school’s literary paper. After finishing school, she had intended to become a teacher but was thwarted by the depression; instead, she worked in the Cleveland, Ohio, library system for eighteen years and eventually became a full-time writer in 1958. By then, Kirkus had reviewed 16 of her novels, giving four of them starred reviews.

Having moved for health reasons in the late 1960s, Norton spent three decades in Winterpark, FL, and eventually moved to Murfreesboro in 1997, where she lived until her death on March 17, 2005.

Norton’s books had great appeal for readers of all ages due to their creative world-building and strong characters, many of whom are female. She broke the glass ceiling, making her way into the top echelon of Science Fiction and Fantasy authors, the vast majority of whom were male at that time.

Norton was the only woman to be named an SFWA Grand Master during the 20th century. She was the first woman to receive the Gandalf Award and to be inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. She was honored with the World Fantasy Convention Lifetime Achievement Award and a founding member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America. After moving to Murfreesboro, Norton created the High Hallack Genre Writers' Research Library. After five years, High Hallack was closed and items auctioned off, due to the author's failing health.

In a 1993 interview, she cites the importance of reading to children and building a love of books. Her family made it a point to visit the local public library every week when she was growing up.

Her books, series, and short stories have been enormously popular. She has also inspired several generations of science fiction and fantasy writers, especially many talented women writers who have followed in her footsteps.

You can check out many of Andre Norton’s books through the Rutherford County Library System or via the hoopla and Libby apps using your RCLS library card.

Linebaugh Public Library is located at 105 W. Vine St. in Murfreesboro. Smyrna Public Library is located at 400 Enon Springs Rd. West in Smyrna. Eagleville Bicentennial Public Library is located at 317 Hwy 99E in Eagleville. MGL Library is located inside Patterson Park Community Center at 521 Mercury Blvd. in Murfreesboro. The Technology Engagement Center is located at 306 Minerva Drive in Murfreesboro. The Historical Research Center (HRC) is located at 435 Rice Street in Murfreesboro. Explore, Imagine, Engage through RCLS. For more information, call 615-893-4131 or visit

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