Toni Morrison: Nobel Prize Winner Turns 87

Celebrated author Toni Morrison turns 87 on February 18. As a prolific author, she's known for her vivid portrayal of the African American experience. 

Born February 18, 1931, as Chloe Anthony Wofford, Toni Morrison has written 11 fictional novels in addition to 8 works of nonfiction and other works. Her most famous work, considered her masterpiece, was Beloved. Published in 1987, Morrison, a graduate of Howard University and Cornell, received a Pulitzer Prize for Beloved in 1988. Later in 1998, Oprah, arguably her biggest or at least most famous fan, brought Beloved to life in a film of the same title.

Morrison’s story doesn’t stop at her writing career. Morrison taught English at Howard University and later Rutgers while working as a senior editor for Random House and raising two sons. From 1989 until 2006 she was a Humanities Chair at Princeton.

In 1993, she became the first African American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, one of the most sought-after literary awards in the world. In 2012 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama for her significant cultural contributions.

Morrison’s body of work includes novels such as The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon and A Mercy, a Fall 2010 One Book One Chicago selection.

Morrison is best known for writing captivating, lyrical, and challenging novels that with stay with you long after you’ve finished them. Her novels reveal deeply-felt personal truths revealed by her characters as they live through their own struggles.

Learn more about Toni Morrison and check out these recommended reads.

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