Paula Fox is a notable figure in contemporary American literature. She has earned wide acclaim for her children’s books, as well as for her novels and memoirs for adults. Born in New York City on April 22, 1923, her early years were turbulent. She moved from upstate New York to Cuba to California, and from one school to another. An avid reader at a young age, her love of literature sustained her through the difficulties of an unsettled childhood. At first, Fox taught high school, writing only when occasion permitted. Soon, however, she was able to devote herself to writing full-time, but kept a foot in the classroom by teaching creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, and the State University of New York.
In her novels for young readers, Fox fearlessly tackles difficult topics such as death, race, and illness. She has received many distinguished literary awards including a Newbery Medal for The Slave Dancer (1974), a National Book Award for A Place Apart (1983), and a Newbery Honor for One-Eyed Cat (1984). Worldwide recognition for Fox’s contribution to literature for children came with the presentation of the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1978.
Fox’s novels for adults have also been highly praised. Her 2002 memoir, Borrowed Finery, received the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir, and in 2013 the Paris Review presented her with the Hadada Award, honoring her contribution to literature and the writing community. In 2011, Fox was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame.
Fox lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, the writer Martin Greenberg.