April 22, 1923 |
New York City, New York
|Period||1966–1999 (children's lit.)|
|Genres||Children's literature; novels, memoirs|
|Notable award(s)||Newbery Medal
Hans Christian Andersen Award
|Children||2 sons by Sigerson[a]|
Paula Fox (born April 22, 1923) is an American author of novels for adults and children and of two memoirs. She has won multiple awards for her children's books: the 1974 Newbery Medal for her novel The Slave Dancer; a 1983 National Book Award in category Children's Fiction (paperback) for A Place Apart; the 2008 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis for A Portrait of Ivan (1969); and the biennial Hans Christian Andersen Medal for "lasting contribution" in 1978.
Her adult novels went out of print in 1992. In the mid nineties she enjoyed a revival as her adult fiction was championed by a new generation of American writers.
Paula Fox was born in New York City on April 22, 1923. Her father, Paul Hervey Fox, wrote screenplays and taught English. Her mother was Elsie De Sola, a Cuban. He had another family after he divorced Elsie with his 2nd wife, Mary, consisting of 3 boys and a girl.
Paula's mother, Elsie De Sola Fox, rejected her at birth and left her in a foundling home. Her maternal grandmother, temporarily visiting New York City, rescued her and she was moved around Florida, Cuba and the US. Unable at the time to provide a home herself, the Cuban grandmother gave the infant to Reverend Elwood Corning and his bedridden mother in Balmville, New York.
The Reverend treated Paula kindly, teaching her important things along the way. Fox first visited her parents at the age of five, when her mother treated her like a prisoner in war. The reunion was so traumatic, she wrote in her memoir Borrowed Finery, "I sensed that if she could have hidden the act she would have killed me."
In 1944, Paula gave birth to a daughter out of wedlock. However, she gave the child up for adoption. This daughter, Linda Carroll, became an author and psychotherapist and gave birth to musician Courtney Love.
Fox later attended Columbia University, married Richard Sigerson, by whom she had 2 sons. She later married the literary critic and translator Martin Greenberg, and worked for years as a teacher and tutor for troubled children. Only in her 40s did she begin her first novel, Poor George, about a cynical school teacher who finds purpose—and ruin—in mentoring a vagrant teenager. The novel was received well (Bernard Bergonzi in the New York Review of Books calling it "the best novel I've read in a long time") but sold poorly, a pattern that all her adult novels would follow. Desperate Characters, an acknowledged masterpiece, came next with Alfred Kazin calling it a "brilliant performance" and "quite devastating" while Lionel Trilling described it as "a reserved and beautifully realized novel". By 1992 all six of her novels were out of print.
She was championed by the author Jonathan Franzen, who saw that some of her books were re-issued. She now lives in Brooklyn.
Children's fiction 
See also 
|About Paula Fox|
|By Paula Fox|
- Fox is also the birth mother of Linda Carroll (b. 1944), who was adopted by an Italian Catholic family. In turn, Carroll is the mother of Courtney Love.
• "MOTHERS & DAUGHTERS: Courtney Love's mom, Linda Carroll, reflects on her daughter and her own birth mother", Neva Chronin, San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, February 5, 2006. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
- Blowfish Live in the Sea and The Little Swineherd were finalists for the National Book Award, Children's Literature.
• "National Book Awards – 1970". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-08. (Select 1971 and 1979 from the top left menu.)
- "National Book Awards – 1983". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
- Edemariam, Aida (June 21, 2003). "A qualified optimist". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-06-23.
- Staino, Rocco (May 12, 2011). "Paula Fox on a Roll". School Library Journal. Retrieved 2011-05-12.
- Acocella, Joan (May 16, 2011). "From Bad Beginnings". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2012-03-01.
- Italie, Hillel (May 5, 2011). "Paula Fox looks back on a wayward life". newsvine.com. Retrieved 2012-03-06.[clarification needed]
- Oliver Broudy (Summer 2004). "Paula Fox, The Art of Fiction No. 181". Paris Review.
- Interview with Ramona Koval, for The Book Show on ABC Radio National July, 2004[dead link]
- Paula Fox bio on frontstreetbooks.com
- Jesse Lichtenstein interviews Paula Fox for Loggernaut.
- Interview with Paula Fox at the Rumpus