Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison was an American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher, and professor emeritus at Princeton University.

Toni Morrison was an American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher, and professor emeritus at Princeton University. She published her first novel, The Bluest Eye in 1970 and later published several novels. She rose to prominence after winning the National Book Critics Circle Award for her novel, Song of Solomon. Among several honors, she has won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She died from complications of pneumonia on 5 August 2019 at the age of 88.


What was Toni Morrison Famous for?

– American Popular novelist.

– The first black woman of any nationality to win the Nobel Prize.


Where was Toni Morrison Born?

Toni Morrison was born on 18 February 1931. Her birth name is Chloe Adrella Wofford. Her birthplace is in Lorain, Ohio in the United States. She held American nationality. She was born to African-American parents. She was born to a father, George Wofford, and a mother, Ramah Wofford. She has 3 siblings. Her zodiac sign is Aquarius.

She attended Lorain High School. After high school, she attended the historically black Howard University, where she graduated with a B.A. in English in 1953. She later received her Master’s degree in Arts from Cornell University in 1955.


Teaching Career

After obtaining a Master of Arts from Cornell, she taught English at several universities.

She taught English at Texas Southern University for two years.

She then taught English at Howard for seven years.

She taught English at two branches of the State University of New York and at Rutgers University: New Brunswick Campus in the 1980s.

She was appointed to an Albert Schweitzer chair at the University at Albany, The State University of New York in 1984.

She was a visiting professor at Bard College from 1986 to 1988.

She was an Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University from 1997 to 2003.

She held the Robert F. Goheen Chair in the Humanities at Princeton University from 1989 until her retirement in 2006.



She started working as an editor for L.W. Singer in Syracuse in 1965.

She transferred to Random House in New York City in 1967, where she became their first black woman senior editor in the fiction department.

She played a vital role in bringing black literature into the mainstream.

She was a member of the editorial advisory board member of a magazine, The Nation.



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.


Children’s literature (with Slade Morrison)

The Big Box (1999).

The Book of Mean People (2002).

Who’s Got Game? The Ant or the Grasshopper?, The Lion or the Mouse?, Poppy or the Snake? (2007).

Peeny Butter Fudge (2009).

Please, Louise (2014).



Morrison wrote a play, Dreaming Emmett in 1955. The play is about the murder of black teenager Emmett Till by white men.

The movie adaptation of Beloved was released in 1998, where Oprah Winfrey stars in the lead role.

Four of her novels were featured on Winfrey’s Book Club on Oprah Winfrey Show.

She was the subject of a film, Imagine –  Toni Morrison Remembers, released in July 2015.

A documentary film titled The Foreigner’s Home was created in 2016. The documentary film is about Morisson’s intellectual and artistic vision.

Morisson was featured in the documentary, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am in 2019.


Who was Toni Morrison Married to?

She met a Jamaican architect Harold Morrison while teaching at Howard. They got married in 1958. The couple got divorced in 1964. The couple shared two children, Harold Ford, and Slade. Slade died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 45.


Morisson died from complications of pneumonia on 5 August 2019 at Montefiore Medical Center in The Bronx, New York City. She died aged 88.

Honors and Awards

1975: Ohioana Book Award for Sula

1977: National Book Critics Circle Award for Song of Solomon

1977: American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award

1987–88: Robert F. Kennedy Book Award

1988: Helmerich Award

1988: American Book Award for Beloved

1988: Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Race Relations for Beloved

1988: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Beloved

1988: Frederic G. Melcher Book Award for Beloved.

1988: Ohioana Career Medal for contributions to education, literature, and the humanities

1989: Honorary Doctor of Letters at Harvard University

1993: Nobel Prize for Literature

1993: Commander of the Arts and Letters, Paris

1994: Condorcet Medal, Paris

1994: Rhegium Julii Prize for Literature

1996: Jefferson Lecture

1996: National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters

2000: National Humanities Medal

2002: 100 Greatest African Americans, list by Molefi Kete Asante

2005: Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University

2008: New Jersey Hall of Fame inductee

2009: Norman Mailer Prize, Lifetime Achievement

2010: Officier de la Légion d’Honneur

2011: Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction

2011: Honorary Doctor of Letters at Rutgers University Graduation Commencement

2011: Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Geneva

2012: Presidential Medal of Freedom

2013: The Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal awarded by Vanderbilt University

2014 Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award given by the National Book Critics Circle

2016 PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction

2016 The Charles Eliot Norton Professorship in Poetry (The Norton Lectures), Harvard University

2016 The Edward MacDowell Medal, awarded by The MacDowell Colony

2018 The Thomas Jefferson Medal, awarded by The American Philosophical Society.

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