About This Author

Toni Morrison

Morrison in 1998
Morrison in 1998

Born

Chloe Ardelia Wofford February 18, 1931 Lorain, Ohio, U.S.

Alma mater

Howard UniversityCornell University

Genre

American literature

Notable works

  • Beloved
  • Song of Solomon
  • The Bluest Eye

Notable awards

  • Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • National Humanities Medal
  • Nobel Prize in Literature
  • Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Signature

Toni Morrison is an American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher and professor emeritus at Princeton University.

Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988 for Beloved . The novel was adapted into a film of the same name in 1998. Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. In 1996, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected her for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities. She was honored with the 1996 National Book Foundation's Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Morrison wrote the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner, first performed in 2005. On May 29, 2012, President Barack Obama presented Morrison with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2016, she received the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.

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Discover Toni Morrison Quotes and Sayings

You need a whole community to raise a child. I have raised two children, alone. - Toni Morrison

You need a whole community to raise a child. I have raised two children, alone.

Toni Morrison

alone
Black literature is taught as sociology, as tolerance, not as a serious, rigorous art form. - Toni Morrison

Black literature is taught as sociology, as tolerance, not as a serious, rigorous art form.

Toni Morrison

art
At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough. - Toni Morrison

At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough.

Toni Morrison

beauty
There is nothing of any consequence in education, in the economy, in city planning, in social policy that does not concern black people. - Toni Morrison

There is nothing of any consequence in education, in the economy, in city planning, in social policy that does not concern black people.

Toni Morrison

education
Women's rights is not only an abstraction, a cause it is also a personal affair. It is not only about us it is also about me and you. Just the two of us. - Toni Morrison

Women's rights is not only an abstraction, a cause it is also a personal affair. It is not only about us it is also about me and you. Just the two of us.

Toni Morrison

women equality
I don't think a female running a house is a problem, a broken family. It's perceived as one because of the notion that a head is a man. - Toni Morrison

I don't think a female running a house is a problem, a broken family. It's perceived as one because of the notion that a head is a man.

Toni Morrison

family
She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind. - Toni Morrison

She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.

Toni Morrison

good friendship
I like marriage. The idea. - Toni Morrison

I like marriage. The idea.

Toni Morrison

marriage funny
Everybody gets everything handed to them. The rich inherit it. I don't mean just inheritance of money. I mean what people take for granted among the middle and upper classes, which is nepotism, the old-boy network. - Toni Morrison

Everybody gets everything handed to them. The rich inherit it. I don't mean just inheritance of money. I mean what people take for granted among the middle and upper classes, which is nepotism, the old-boy network.

Toni Morrison

money
I don't think anybody cares about unwed mothers unless they're black or poor. The question is not morality, the question is money. That's what we're upset about. - Toni Morrison

I don't think anybody cares about unwed mothers unless they're black or poor. The question is not morality, the question is money. That's what we're upset about.

Toni Morrison

money
All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. - Toni Morrison

All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.

Toni Morrison

nature
The body is ready to have babies. Nature wants it done then, when the body can handle it, not after 40, when the income can handle it. - Toni Morrison

The body is ready to have babies. Nature wants it done then, when the body can handle it, not after 40, when the income can handle it.

Toni Morrison

nature
As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think. - Toni Morrison

As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.

Toni Morrison

trust power
The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power. - Toni Morrison

The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.

Toni Morrison

power
It's been mentioned or suggested that Paradise will not be well studied, because it's about this unimportant intellectual topic, which is religion. - Toni Morrison

It's been mentioned or suggested that Paradise will not be well studied, because it's about this unimportant intellectual topic, which is religion.

Toni Morrison

religion
Black people have always been used as a buffer in this country between powers to prevent class war. - Toni Morrison

Black people have always been used as a buffer in this country between powers to prevent class war.

Toni Morrison

war