Paula Fox was born April 22, 1923 in New York City. When she was eight, she moved to a Cuban plantation and stayed for two years. In Cuba, she went to a one-room school with eight other students who ranged in age from six to fourteen. Fox attended nine schools before she was twelve. She spent 3 years at Columbia University but didn't graduate. Fox didn't start writing until she started a job teaching troubled children. Before that she worked in a wide variety of jobs. At sixteen, she was reading books for Warner Brothers, including Spanish novels. She was also a salesgirl, a model, a worker in a rivet-sorting shop, and lastly a lathe operator at the Bethlehem Steel during World War II. She wrote her first adult novel, Poor George, while she was living in Greece with her family followed by Maurice's Room, her first children's book. Fox is best known for her children's books, such as The Slave Dancer, which earned her a Newbery Medal and a Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1984. Her adult novels include The Widows Children, A Servant's Tale, and The God of Nightmares, and News from the World: Stories and Essays.