Toni Morrison: Biography

Toni Morrison

18 feb 1931

Toni Morrison is a highly decorated, and multiple award-winning African American author. Most notably, Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, for her achievement in expressing ‘an essential aspect in American reality’ through her novels. This made Toni Morrison the first African-American to receive the prize. Morrison has also been awarded the Pulitzer prize, in 1988 for her novel Beloved.

Though Toni Morrison’s novels often explore feminist themes and issues, particularly in the context of the African-American experience, in her own words she has said “I do not subscribe to the patriarchy, and I don’t think it should be substituted with matriarchy”. Morrison is more concerned with issue of race, as she explored in her first novel The Bluest Eye. So powerfully is this an influence on her writing, in fact, that it wasn’t until her fourth novel, Tar Baby, that Toni Morrison included interaction between black and white characters in her fiction. In 1998, Toni Morrison’s film Beloved was made into a film in which Oprah Winfrey acted as the main character.

Toni Morrison was married for six years, between 1958 and 1964. She had two children from the marriage. The younger son, Slade Morrison, often collaborated with Toni Morrison on children’s books, until his death.

While she still writes, even though in her 80s, with her latest novel being announced for publication on 2015, Toni Morrison has also spent many years teaching as a professor at Princeton University, where she now holds the position of Professor Emeritus.