Black Artist Spotlight: Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison was the first African-American woman to receive a Nobel Prize in literature. With that being said, she is an amazing writer, one of the best writers of our time.

Morrison was an English professor at Texas Southern University for two years then she moved on to teach the same subject at Howard University until 1964. After that she became a fiction editor. She continued teaching at State University of New York Albany but this time writing and soon after went to work at Princeton.

Morrison’s first novel The Bluest Eye was published in 1970, this told a story of a young African-American girl who longs to have blue eyes. Following that came her novel, Sula in 1973, which looks at a friendship between two women. Her third novel Song of Solomon in 1977, follows the journey of a man who is in search of his roots, this novel brought Morrison many success.

In 1981, Morrison published, Tar Baby, which got mixed reviews but her next literary work made history. Beloved (1987), a story of a former slave that decides between killing her children or seeing them become slaves. Beloved won Morrison the Pulitzer Prize for fiction (1988) and many other awards. The novel also became a movie starring Oprah Winfrey in 1998.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison photographed in New York City in 1979. (Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images)

After Beloved came more success, and more many more novels. Some which include; Jazz (1994), Paradise (1998), Love (2003), and A Mercy (2008).

In 2006, The New York Times named Beloved, the best novel in the 25 years. Morrison and her son Slade, collaborated on many children books together, until his death in 2010. Two years later, Morrison was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it”.

Originally published 2/25/15.

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