Award-winning author Paula Fox dead at 93

NEW YORK - JANUARY 13: American author Paula Fox poses for a portrait at her home January 13, 2007 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Ulf Andersen/Getty Images)

Credit: Ulf Andersen

Credit: Ulf Andersen

Paula Fox, a prize-winning author who wrote "Poor George" and "Desperate Characters" and described painful experiences in her memoir, "Borrowed Finery," died Wednesday in Brooklyn, New York, The New York Times reported. She was 93.

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Her death was confirmed by her daughter, Linda Carroll-Barraud, the Times reported.

A prolific writer of children's fiction with more than 20 titles to her credit, Fox debuted in adult fiction with "Poor George" in 1967. It was the story of a bored schoolteacher and a teen vagrant who upended her life, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Desperate Characters,” published in 1970, was her most highly regarded work. It told of the disintegration of a marriage and was made into a film of the same title, released in 1971, starring Shirley MacLaine and Kenneth Mars.

Fox won the Newbery Medal in 1974 for “The Slave Dancer,” a controversial novel about the Atlantic slave trade in the 1840s. She also won the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1978 for her body of children’s work.

Her work also includes two memoirs: “Borrowed Finery” (2001), about her childhood, and “The Coldest Winter: A Stringer in Liberated Europe” (2005), about her experiences during young womanhood.

Fox was born in Manhattan on April 22, 1923. She called her father, Paul Hervey Fox, a drunk and said her mother, Elsie de Sola, was a "sociopath" who kicked her out of the house as a young girl. She told The New York Times that her mother was young, vain, cold “and ungovernable in her haste to have done with me.”

Fox was left at a foundling hospital when she was a few days old, and then lived everywhere from a plantation in Cuba with her grandmother to a boarding school in Montreal.

"My life was incoherent to me," Fox wrote in "Borrowed Finery." ''I felt it quivering, spitting out broken teeth."

As a teenager, Fox had what she referred to as a “brief, disastrous marriage.” Her second marriage, to Richard Sigerson, ended in divorce. In 1962, she married Martin Greenberg.

At the end of “Borrowed Finery,” Fox tells of being reunited with the daughter she had as a 20-year-old,  the result of a relationship after her first marriage ended. She put the child up for adoption but was reunited with her when Carroll-Barraud found her, The New York Times reported.

One of Fox’s grandchildren is Carroll-Barraud's daughter, rock singer Courtney Love.

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