Vanderbilt University

Toni Morrison: An American Literary Treasure

About the Author
Toni Morrison Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford) was born in 1931 in Lorain, Ohio. Growing up in the Midwest she was surrounded by a close-knit black community that has a strong oral tradition of passing along folktales. Morrison absorbed much from the folktales and would later pass along this form of storytelling in her writings. She graduated from Howard University in 1953 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and then went on to Cornell University where she earned a Master of Arts degree in 1955. Her first book The Bluest Eye was published in 1970. This book started as a short story about a little black girl who longed to have blue eyes. From this earliest work Morrison went on to write Sula, Beloved, Song of Solomon, Jazz among others. She won a Pulitzer prize in 1988 for Beloved and in 1993 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Her most recent book is Home (2012).   Photo: Martha Kaplan.      [close]