Toni Morrison

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Who is Toni Morrison?

Beyond being one of the most successful black novelists in America whose most recent "Beloved" won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, she is a very private person.  Thus it is not accidental that published interviews with her dwell on her work as an author but not about her private life.  But a few facts are available.

Toni (Chloe Anthony Wofford) was born in Lorain, Ohio, in 1931.  Like many depression era children, she worked from age 12 on including such jobs as housemaid, dancer and actress.

She received her BA from Howard University, and an MA in English from Cornell.  She was an editor at Random House for 18 years and taught at Yale, Bard, Howard and Texas Southern.  She is currently Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities at New York State University at Albany.  In the spring of 1989 she will be the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities Council at Princeton University.

She is a divorced mother with two grown sons, who she raised alone.  She lives in a four story converted boat dock on the Hudson River north of Manhattan.

Toni has five highly acclaimed novels to her credit.  Her first "The Bluest Eyes" (1970) was her first writing effort begun when she was 30.  Her third, "Song of Solomon" (1977) received the National Book Critics Award.  Her latest, "Beloved" may be the first of a trilogy which will certainly be a feast for her readers.

Toni identifies herself as a compulsive writer.  After years of being an editor who wrote, a teacher who wrote, and a mother who wrote, she at last, after five books, admits to being a writer who writes.  And what writing!  It "ranges from Biblical and incantatory to downhome and streetwise."  She immerses you in her created worlds with words that lure you in sense by sense.  Her characters are manipulated in a Greek Tragedy manner by forces beyond their control.  Their pain is deeply personal, creating the strong sense of pathos that inhabits all Toni’s work.