Toni Morrison: Wordsmith of the Human Experience

OV Digital Desk

Toni Morrison, (18 February 1931 – 5 August 2019) was an American novelist, editor, and professor. she won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993.

She is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential writers of the 20th century, and her work is known for its powerful exploration of race, identity, and the human experience.

Life and Career

She was born on 18 February 1931, in Lorain, Ohio, U.S. She graduated from Howard University with a B.A. degree in 1953 and got his M.A. from Cornell University in 1955. Morrison’s first novel, “The Bluest Eye,” was published in 1970 and told the story of a young black girl named Pecola Breedlove who longs for blue eyes, a standard of beauty that is denied to her because of her race.

She published her second novel Sula in 1973 about an evolving friendship between two girls in a black neighborhood. Her next novel was ‘Song of Solomon (1977),  in which she tells a story about a man searching for his identity. She published her best-known novel, ‘Beloved’ in 1987, which won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, is the true story of a runaway slave who kills her infant daughter in order to keep her out of slavery.

She also wrote the libretto for Margaret Garner (2005), an opera about the same story that inspired Beloved. She wrote two novels in the 1990s: Jazz, a historical novel, and Paradise, about gender and class. Her novel ‘Home’ was published in 2012. In addition to her writing, Morrison was taught at several Universities including, the State University of New York and Princeton University. She also worked as an editor at Random House, where she worked to bring attention to emerging black writers.

Her work inspires and challenges readers around the world, and she championed marginalized voices and stories throughout her life and career. She died on 5 August 2019, in New York City, U.S.

Award and Legacy

She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 for her novels “which are characterized by visionary force and poetic import, giving life to an essential aspect of American reality”. In 1988, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel Beloved.