Toni Morrison - Novelists, Family and Personal Life

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Toni Morrison's Personal Details

Toni Morrison is a multiple award winning author whose best known works include the novels ‘Beloved’ and ‘The Bluest Eye’

InformationDetail
BirthdayFebruary 18, 1931
NationalityAmerican
FamousNovelists, African American Authors, African Americans, Black Authors, Nobel Laureates In Literature, Cornell University, Howard University, Writers, Novelists
SpousesHarold Morrison (m. 1958–1964)
Known asChloe Ardelia Wofford
Childrens Harold Ford Morrison, Slade Morrison
Universities
  • Cornell University,Howard University
  • Howard University
  • Cornell University
Notable Alumnis
  • Cornell University
  • Howard University
Birth PlaceLorain, Ohio
GenderFemale
FatherGeorge Wofford
MotherRamah
Net Worth$24 million as of May 26,2017
Sun SignAquarius
Born inLorain, Ohio
Famous asAmerican novelist

// Famous Novelists

Toni Morrison's photo

Who is Toni Morrison?

Toni Morrison, born Chloe Ardelia Wofford, is a novelist and professor who has won several prestigious awards for her literary works. As the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Pulitzer Prize among many other awards, she is one of the most brilliant authors in the genre of African American literature. The seeds for her future profession were sown by her father who told her stories and fables of the African culture which influenced her writings. Primarily a professor by profession, she began writing as a part of an informal group of writers and poets, and published her first novel ‘The Bluest Eye’. The critical reviews she got for her debut motivated her to write more. She developed a style of writing that is characterized by epic themes, descriptive dialogues and rich depictions of Black American culture. She went on to write several other novels that were critically appreciated and won her numerous awards. Her novel, ‘Song of Solomon’ was the first novel by a black writer to be chosen the main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club in almost four decades. She was already famous by the time the novel ‘Beloved’ was published but this book took her popularity to greater heights. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was later made into a film of the same name.

// Famous Black Authors

Childhood & Early Life

She was born as one of the four children of Ramah and George Wofford. She hailed from a working class family. Her father was a welder who also worked at other odd jobs while her mother was a domestic worker.

Her family instilled in her a love for reading and storytelling; Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy were among her favourite authors. She was a good student and graduated with honours from Lorain High School in 1949.

She enrolled at Howard University and received her B.A in English in 1953. She completed her Master of Arts in English from Cornell University in 1955.

Career

She was appointed as an English instructor at Texas Southern University in 1955. She worked there for two years before returning to Howard in 1957 to teach English.

By 1964, she was married with two children. However, her marriage broke up and she moved to New York to work as a textbook editor. Later she found work as an editor at the New York City headquarters of Random House.

While working as an editor she played a vital role in bringing black literature into the mainstream by editing books by prominent black authors like Henry Dumas, Angela Davis and Gayl Jones.

She joined an informal group of writers and poets who held meetings where they discussed their work. She wrote a short story for one such discussion that revolved around a black girl who wished to have blue eyes. She expanded this story into her debut novel, ‘The Bluest Eye’ in 1970.

Her next novel ‘Sula’, published in 1973 was about the friendship between two girls in a black neighbourhood and how their friendship evolves and changes over time.

In her novel, ‘Song of Solomon’ (1977), she told of the life of Macon “Milkman” Dead III, an African American male. The book traces his life from birth to adulthood. This book was chosen for Oprah Winfrey’s popular book club.

She was appointed to the Albert Schweitzer chair at the University of Albany in 1984. She held the Robert F. Goheen Chair in the Humanities at Princeton University from 1989 until her retirement in 2006.

She published her best known novel, ‘Beloved’ in 1987. The novel was set in post Civil War America and dealt with the story of an African American slave Margaret Garner who temporarily escaped slavery before being recaptured.

During the 1990s she wrote two novels: a historical novel ‘Jazz’ in 1992 and a novel about gender and class called ‘Paradise’ in 1997.

She was selected by the National Endowment for the Humanities for the Jefferson Lecture in 1996. The lecture is U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities.

She wrote the English libretto for the opera ‘Margaret Garner’ in 2005. She had previously based her novel ‘Beloved’ on the life of the runaway slave Margaret Garner; this opera too was based on the same woman.

Major Works

Her 1977 novel ‘Song of Solomon’ is one of her major novels. The book not only won the National Books Critics Award, but was also cited by the Swedish Academy in awarding her the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Her novel ‘Beloved’ inspired by the life of the escaped slave Margaret Garner was a critical success. The novel was later adapted into a movie starring Oprah Winfrey.

Awards & Achievements

She won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel ‘Beloved’ in 1988.

She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 for her novels “which characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality".

The National Book Foundation honoured her with the Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 1996. The medal is awarded to a writer “who has enriched our literary heritage over a life of service, or a corpus of work."

Personal Life & Legacy

She married Harold Morrison, a Jamaican architect and fellow faculty member at Howard University, in 1958. They had two sons and later divorced in 1964. Her son Slade worked with her on several books and literary projects.

// Famous Alumni of Howard University

Toni Morrison awards

YearNameAward

Other

1988American Book Award
1988Anisfield-Wolf Book Award
1988Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
1988Frederic G. Melcher Book Award
198788 - Robert F. Kennedy Book Award
1989MLA Commonwealth Award for literature
1993Nobel Prize for Literature
1994Condorcet Medal
1994Pearl Buck Award
1994Rhegium Julii Prize for Literature
1996National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
2000National Humanities Medal
2009Norman Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement
2012Presidential Medal of Freedom
2012Presidential Medal of Freedom
1977 - National Book Critics Circle Award for Song of Solomon
1977 - American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award
1988 - Helmerich Award

Toni Morrison biography timelines

  • // 18th Feb 1931
    She was born as one of the four children of Ramah and George Wofford. She hailed from a working class family. Her father was a welder who also worked at other odd jobs while her mother was a domestic worker.
  • // 1949
    Her family instilled in her a love for reading and storytelling; Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy were among her favourite authors. She was a good student and graduated with honours from Lorain High School in 1949.
  • // 1953
    She enrolled at Howard University and received her B.A in English in 1953. She completed her Master of Arts in English from Cornell University in 1955.
  • // 1955 To 1957
    She was appointed as an English instructor at Texas Southern University in 1955. She worked there for two years before returning to Howard in 1957 to teach English.
  • // 1958 To 1964
    She married Harold Morrison, a Jamaican architect and fellow faculty member at Howard University, in 1958. They had two sons and later divorced in 1964. Her son Slade worked with her on several books and literary projects.
  • // 1964
    By 1964, she was married with two children. However, her marriage broke up and she moved to New York to work as a textbook editor. Later she found work as an editor at the New York City headquarters of Random House.
  • // 1970
    She joined an informal group of writers and poets who held meetings where they discussed their work. She wrote a short story for one such discussion that revolved around a black girl who wished to have blue eyes. She expanded this story into her debut novel, ‘The Bluest Eye’ in 1970.
  • // 1973
    Her next novel ‘Sula’, published in 1973 was about the friendship between two girls in a black neighbourhood and how their friendship evolves and changes over time.
  • // 1977
    In her novel, ‘Song of Solomon’ (1977), she told of the life of Macon “Milkman” Dead III, an African American male. The book traces his life from birth to adulthood. This book was chosen for Oprah Winfrey’s popular book club.
  • // 1984
    She was appointed to the Albert Schweitzer chair at the University of Albany in 1984. She held the Robert F. Goheen Chair in the Humanities at Princeton University from 1989 until her retirement in 2006.
  • // 1987
    She published her best known novel, ‘Beloved’ in 1987. The novel was set in post Civil War America and dealt with the story of an African American slave Margaret Garner who temporarily escaped slavery before being recaptured.
  • // 1988
    She won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel ‘Beloved’ in 1988.
  • // 1993
    She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 for her novels “which characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality".
  • // 1996
    She was selected by the National Endowment for the Humanities for the Jefferson Lecture in 1996. The lecture is U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities.
  • // 1996
    The National Book Foundation honoured her with the Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 1996. The medal is awarded to a writer “who has enriched our literary heritage over a life of service, or a corpus of work."
  • // 2005
    She wrote the English libretto for the opera ‘Margaret Garner’ in 2005. She had previously based her novel ‘Beloved’ on the life of the runaway slave Margaret Garner; this opera too was based on the same woman.

// Famous African American Authors

Toni Morrison's FAQ

  • What is Toni Morrison birthday?

    Toni Morrison was born at 1931-02-18

  • Where is Toni Morrison's birth place?

    Toni Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio

  • What is Toni Morrison nationalities?

    Toni Morrison's nationalities is American

  • Who is Toni Morrison spouses?

    Toni Morrison's spouses is Harold Morrison (m. 1958–1964)

  • Who is Toni Morrison childrens?

    Toni Morrison's childrens is Harold Ford Morrison, Slade Morrison

  • What was Toni Morrison universities?

    Toni Morrison studied at Cornell University,Howard University, Howard University, Cornell University

  • What was Toni Morrison notable alumnis?

    Toni Morrison's notable alumnis is Cornell University, Howard University

  • Who is Toni Morrison's father?

    Toni Morrison's father is George Wofford

  • Who is Toni Morrison's mother?

    Toni Morrison's mother is Ramah

  • What is Toni Morrison's sun sign?

    Toni Morrison is Aquarius

  • How famous is Toni Morrison?

    Toni Morrison is famouse as American novelist