Toni Morrison


Toni Morrison (1931-2019) was an American novelist, essayist, editor, and professor. Her works are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed African American characters and communities. She received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, becoming the first African American woman to be awarded this honor.

Early Life: Toni Morrison was born Chloe Ardelia Wofford on February 18, 1931, in Lorain, Ohio. Her parents instilled in her a love of reading, music, and folklore. Morrison graduated from Howard University with a B.A. in English and later earned a master’s degree from Cornell University. She taught English at various universities and worked as an editor at Random House.

Career: Morrison’s first novel, “The Bluest Eye,” was published in 1970. She gained national attention with her third novel, “Song of Solomon” (1977), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her fifth novel, “Beloved” (1987), received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. “Beloved” is widely regarded as her masterpiece, a haunting tale about slavery and its aftermath.

Major Works: Morrison’s writing explores themes of identity, community, and the African American experience. Her other notable works include “Sula” (1973), “Tar Baby” (1981), “Jazz” (1992), “Paradise” (1997), and “A Mercy” (2008). Her works are celebrated for their poetic language, complex characters, and profound social commentary.

Legacy: Toni Morrison’s legacy extends beyond her literary achievements. She was a vocal advocate for racial and social justice, and her work as an editor helped bring African American literature to a wider audience. Morrison’s impact on American literature and culture is profound, and her novels continue to be studied and cherished worldwide. She passed away on August 5, 2019, but her contributions to literature and social thought remain influential.


Major Novels:

  • The Bluest Eye (1970)
  • Sula (1973)
  • Song of Solomon (1977)
  • Tar Baby (1981)
  • Beloved (1987)
  • Jazz (1992)
  • Paradise (1997)
  • Love (2003)
  • A Mercy (2008)
  • Home (2012)
  • God Help the Child (2015)


  • Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1992)
  • The Origin of Others (2017)
  • Remember: The Journey to School Integration (2004)

Children’s Books (co-authored with her son Slade Morrison):

  • The Big Box (1999)
  • The Book of Mean People (2002)
  • Peeny Butter Fudge (2009)
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