52 Facts About Toni Morrison


In 1988, Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize for Beloved ; she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993.


Toni Morrison earned a master's degree in American Literature from Cornell University in 1955.


Toni Morrison became the first black female editor in fiction at Random House in New York City in the late 1960s.


Toni Morrison developed her own reputation as an author in the 1970s and '80s.


Toni Morrison's work Beloved was made into a film in 1998.


Toni Morrison's works are praised for addressing the harsh consequences of racism in the United States and the Black American experience.


Toni Morrison was honored with the National Book Foundation's Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters the same year.


Toni Morrison was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 2020.


Toni Morrison was born Chloe Ardelia Wofford, the second of four children from a working-class, Black family, in Lorain, Ohio, to Ramah and George Wofford.


Toni Morrison's mother was born in Greenville, Alabama, and moved north with her family as a child.


Toni Morrison was a homemaker and a devout member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.


Toni Morrison worked odd jobs and as a welder for US Steel.


Traumatized by his experiences of racism, in a 2015 interview Toni Morrison said her father hated whites so much he would not let them in the house.


When Toni Morrison was about two years old, her family's landlord set fire to the house in which they lived, while they were home, because her parents could not afford to pay rent.


Toni Morrison's family responded to what she called this "bizarre form of evil" by laughing at the landlord rather than falling into despair.


Toni Morrison's parents instilled in her a sense of heritage and language through telling traditional African-American folktales, ghost stories, and singing songs.


Toni Morrison read frequently as a child; among her favorite authors were Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy.


Toni Morrison became a Catholic at the age of 12 and took the baptismal name Anthony, which led to her nickname, Toni.


In that capacity, Toni Morrison played a vital role in bringing Black literature into the mainstream.


Toni Morrison fostered a new generation of Afro-American writers, including poet and novelist Toni Cade Bambara, radical activist Angela Davis, Black Panther Huey Newton and novelist Gayl Jones, whose writing Morrison discovered.


Toni Morrison brought to publication the 1975 autobiography of the outspoken boxing champion Muhammad Ali, The Greatest: My Own Story.


Mrs Toni Morrison has one of these in the stores now, and magazines and newsletters in the publishing trade are ecstatic, saying it will go like hotcakes.


Toni Morrison had begun writing fiction as part of an informal group of poets and writers at Howard University who met to discuss their work.


Toni Morrison attended one meeting with a short story about a Black girl who longed to have blue eyes.


The Bluest Eye was published by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston in 1970, when Toni Morrison was aged 39.


Toni Morrison gave her next novel, Tar Baby, a contemporary setting.


In 1983, Toni Morrison left publishing to devote more time to writing, while living in a converted boathouse on the Hudson River in Nyack, New York.


Toni Morrison taught English at two branches of the State University of New York and at Rutgers University's New Brunswick campus.


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


Toni Morrison spoke about a blind, old, Black woman who is approached by a group of young people.


Toni Morrison continued to explore different art forms, such as providing texts for original scores of classical music.


Toni Morrison collaborated with Andre Previn on the song cycle Honey and Rue, which premiered with Kathleen Battle in January 1992, and on Four Songs, premiered at Carnegie Hall with Sylvia McNair in November 1994.


Toni Morrison returned to Margaret Garner's life story, the basis of her novel Beloved, to write the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner.


From 1997 to 2003, Morrison was an Andrew D White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University.


Toni Morrison is eager to credit 'foreigners' with enriching the countries where they settle.


From 1989 until her retirement in 2006, Morrison held the Robert F Goheen Chair in the Humanities at Princeton University.


In May 2010, Toni Morrison appeared at PEN World Voices for a conversation with Marlene van Niekerk and Kwame Anthony Appiah about South African literature and specifically van Niekerk's 2004 novel Agaat.


Toni Morrison wrote books for children with her younger son, Slade Toni Morrison, who was a painter and a musician.


In 2011, Toni Morrison worked with opera director Peter Sellars and Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traore on Desdemona, taking a fresh look at William Shakespeare's tragedy Othello.


Toni Morrison completed Home and dedicated it to her son Slade.


Toni Morrison was a member of the editorial advisory board of The Nation, a magazine started in 1865 by Northern abolitionists.


Toni Morrison took his last name and became known as Toni Morrison.


Toni Morrison was pregnant when she and Harold divorced in 1964.


Toni Morrison's second son, Slade Kevin, was born in 1965.


Toni Morrison moved with her sons as her career took her to different positions in different places.


Toni Morrison stopped work on the novel for a year or two before completing it; that novel was published in 2012.


Toni Morrison died at Montefiore Medical Center in The Bronx, New York City, on August 5,2019, from complications of pneumonia.


Toni Morrison was not afraid to comment on American politics and race relations.


When he won, Toni Morrison said she felt like an American for the first time.


Toni Morrison is essentially postmodern since her approach to myth and folklore is re-visionist.


The Toni Morrison Papers are part of the permanent library collections of Princeton University, where they are held in the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.


Toni Morrison was interviewed by Margaret Busby in London for a 1988 documentary film by Sindamani Bridglal, entitled Identifiable Qualities, shown on Channel 4.