Toni Morrison: The Great American Novelist


Toni Morrison was a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist. Among her most famous novels are The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, A Mercy, and Beloved.

More About Toni Morrison   

Chloe Anthony Wofford Morrison, born as Chloe Ardelia Wofford on February 18th, 1931, popularly known as Toni Morrison, was an American essayist, book editor, and college professor. The Bluest Eye was her 1st novel, and publishers published it in 1970. The critically acclaimed ‘Song of Solomon’, 1977, brought her national attention and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 1988, Toni Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize for ‘Beloved’ 1987. Toni Morrison gained worldwide acknowledgment when she got the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993.

Toni Morrison graduated from Howard University in the mid 20th century (1953) with a B.A in English. In 1955, Toni Morrison earned a master’s degree in American Literature from Cornell University. In 1957, Morrison returned to Howard University, was engaged or married, and had two kids before divorcing in 1964. In the 1960s, Toni Morrison became the 1st black female editor in fiction at Random House in N.Y. (New York) City. In the 1980s and 1970s, Morrison developed her reputation as an author, and her novel Beloved became a 1998 film.

Designed by Robert O./Toni Morrison, famous quotes

In 1996, the National Endowment for the Humanities chose Morrison for the Jefferson Lecture, the United States federal government’s highest honor for humanities achievement. In 1996, Morrison received the National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. On May 29th, 2012, Ex-United State President, Barack Obama, presented Toni Morrison with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2016, Toni Morrison got the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. Last year, people inducted Toni Morrison into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Toni Morrison’s Early Years

Morrison was born in Lorain (Ohio) to Ramah and George Wofford. She was the 2nd of four kids from a working-class, black family. Her mother was born in Greenville, and her father grew up in Cartersville (Georgia).

When Toni Morrison was about two years old, her family’s landlord set fire to the house they resided in or lived in because her parents could not afford rent. Toni Morrison’s parents instilled in her a sense of language and heritage through telling traditional African-American ghost stories, folktales, and singing songs. Toni Morrison read a lot while she was still a child. Among her favorite authors were Leo Tolstoy and Jane Austen. She became a Catholic at 12 years and took the baptismal name Anthony, after Anthony of Padua, which led to Toni’s nickname. Toni Morrison attended Lorain High School. She was on the debate team and in the drama club.

Adulthood and Editing Career (1949-1975)

In 1949, Toni Morrison enrolled at Howard University in Washington D.C., seeking the companion or company of fellow black intellectuals. While at Howard University, Toni Morrison encountered racially segregated buses and hotels for the 1st time. Toni Morrison taught English 1st at Texas Southern University in Houston from 1955-1957 and then at her earlier Howard University for the next seven years. While teaching at Howard University, she met Harold Morrison, a Jamaican and an architect, whom she married in 1958. After her divorce, Toni Morrison started working as an editor for L.W. Singer, a textbook division of publisher Random House in Syracuse (New York City).

In her capacity, Toni Morrison played an essential role in bringing black literature into the mainstream. One of the 1st books Toni Morrison worked on was the Contemporary African Literature (1972), a collection that involved or included the works by Nigerian writers Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and South African playwright Athol Fugard. Toni Morrison fostered a new generation of Afro-American writers, including novelist and poet Toni Cade Bambara, and brought to publication the 1975 autobiography of Muhammad Ali. Toni Morrison published and promoted the work of Henry Dumas, a novelist, and poet. The other book that Toni Morrison developed and edited is ‘The Black Book’ (1974), an anthology of illustrations, photographs, essays, and other black life documents in the United States from slavery to the 1920s.

The First Teachings and Writings (1970-1986)

Toni Morrison had started writing fiction as part of an informal group of writers and poets at Howard University who met to talk about their work. She went to one discussion or meeting with a short story about a black girl who longed to have blue eyes. Toni Morrison later developed the story as her 1st novel, getting up every morning at 4 am to write. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston published The Bluest Eye in the late 20th century when Toni Morrison was 39 years. The novel didn’t sell well at 1st, but the City University of New York put Morrison’s 1st novel on its reading list for its new black studies department, as did other leaning institutions, particularly colleges, which boosted sales. The book also brought Toni Morrison to the attention of Robert Gottlieb, an editor at Knopf.

In 1975, Toni Morrison’s 2nd novel Sula, about a relationship between two black women, was up for the National Book Award. Morrison’s 3rd novel (Song of Solomon) follows Macon Dead’s life from birth to adulthood as he discovers his heritage through the magic of black experience. This novel brought Toni Morrison national acclaim, being the main selection of the Month Club’s Book. Song of Solomon won the National Book Critics Circle Award, as mentioned earlier. At its 1979 commencement ceremonies, Barnard College awarded Toni Morrison its highest honor, the Barnard Medal of Distinction.

Designed by Robert O./Toni Morrison, famous quotes

Toni Morrison gave her next novel, Tar Baby, a modern or contemporary setting. A looks-obsessed fashion model called Jadine falls in love with Son, a penniless drifter who feels okay with being black.

In 1983, Toni Morrison left publishing to dedicate more time to writing while residing in a converted boathouse on the Hudson River in Nyack, New York City. Toni Morrison taught English at two SUNY branches (State University of New York) and Rutgers University’s New Brunswick Campus. In 1984, people appointed her to an Albert Schweitzer chair at the University at Albany.

Toni Morrison’s 1st play called Dreaming Emmett is about the 1955 white men’s murder of a black teenager known as Emmett Till. Toni Morrison was also a visiting professor at Bard College from 1986-1988.

The Final Years of Toni Morrison

In May 2010, Toni Morrison appeared at PEN World Voices for a discussion with Kwame Anthony Appiah and Marlene Van Niekerk about South African literature and Niekerk’s 2004 novel ‘Agaat.’ Toni Morrison wrote books for children with Slade Morrison, her younger son, who was a musician and a painter. Slade Morrison died of pancreatic cancer on December 22nd, 2010, at the age of 45. Toni Morrison’s novel Home was halfway through when Slade lost his life.

In May 2011, Toni Morrison got an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Rutgers University during the commencement ceremony. She gave a powerful speech on the pursuit of life, meaningfulness, integrity, truth, and liberty.

Toni Morrison debuted another work in 2011. She worked with opera director Peter Sellars and Rokia Traore, Malian singer, and songwriter, on a new production called Desdemona, taking a fresh look at William Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello. The trio concentrated on the relationship between Desdemona, Othello’s wife, and Barbary, her African nursemaid.

Later on, Toni Morrison completed the novel Home and dedicated it to her kid Slade Morrison. In August 2012, Oberlin College became the Toni Morrison Society’s home-base, an international literary community that came into existence in 1983, dedicated to Toni Morrison’s work’s scholarly research.

In 2015, publishers published Toni Morrison’s 11th novel known as ‘God Help the Child.’ Toni Morrison was an active member of the editorial advisory board of The Nation, a magazine that Northern abolitionists started in 1865.


The Death and Memorial of Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison lost her life at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx (New York City) on August 5th, 2019, from pneumonia complications. She was only 88 years old. Upon her demise, Toni Morison had a newt worth of over 15 million dollars ($20 million). People held a memorial tribute for Toni Morrison on November 21st, 2019, at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan in NYC (New York City).

At this gathering, several people eulogized Toni Morrison. They were Oprah Winfrey, Michael Ondaatje, Angela Davis, David Remnick Fran Lebowitz, Edwidge Danticat, and Ta-Nehisi Coates. David Murray, the jazz saxophonist, performed a musical tribute.

More Awards that Toni Morrison Achieved

In 1975 she got Ohioana Book Award for Sula, 1977-American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award, 1987-Robert Kennedy Book Award. 1988-Helmerich Award, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Race Relations for Beloved, Frederic Melcher book Award for ‘Beloved’ and in 1994 she got the Condorcet Medal.

Designed by Robert O./Toni Morrison, famous quotes

In 2005 Toni Morrison achieved the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement, 2013-The Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal, 2016-The Edward MacDowell Medal, and in 2018 she received The Thomas Jefferson Medal.

Toni Morrison was a great novelist and writer whom other young female writers or novelists need to look up to and take the course or direction of writing with great courage.



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