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July 10 – July 17, 2008 Edition
MURFREESBORO, TN/7/4/08–The late science fiction novelist Andre Norton left behind a real-life mystery when she died three years ago. Who will manage the rights for her more than 130 books, including the popular Witch World series. According to an AP story in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, several people are battling over control of her intriguing works, completed during some 70 years as an author. The case is under review by the Tennessee Court of Appeals.
The Seattle PI reports that among those claiming ownership of the works are a woman who cared for Norton in her later years, and a fan who says he is better suited to care for Norton’s literary legacy.
Norton, whose real name was Alice Mary Norton, had no children or close relatives. She lived with her caretaker Sue Stewart in alter years, after having moved to Murfreesborog, Tenn in 1990.
Stewart was named as a beneficiary of all property not explicitly assigned in the will. However, Victor Horadam, who began reading Norton’s work at about age 9, had a lifelong relationship with the author, and had exchanged hundreds of letters with her before her death in March 2005 at the age of 93. Horadam claims he should receive royalty income from works published before Norton’s death, and has asked the Appeals Court to interpret the meaning of "posthumous publication." A lower court had ruled in Horadam’s favor, saying Norton used the the terms royalties and copyrights interchangeably in her will and that "posthumous publication" meant any publication of her works after her death, including reprints.
Stewart contends the author intended for her, not Horadam, to receive the royalty income from works published before Norton’s death.
Norton began writing in the 1930s and defied gender stereotypes by becoming the first woman to win the Grand Master of Fantasy award from the Science Fiction Writers of America and the Nebula Grand Master Award. Read the full story in the Seattle PI.