She is an American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters.
Presidential Medal of Freedom 2012
Nobel Prize in Literature 1993
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 1988
In 1949 Morrison went to Howard University graduating in 1953 with a B.A. in English; she went on to earn a Master of Arts from Cornell University in 1955. She taught English, first at Texas Southern University in Houston for two years, then at Howard for seven years.
Morrison began writing fiction as part of an informal group of poets and writers at Howard University who met to discuss their work. She attended one meeting with a short story about a black girl who longed to have blue eyes. She later developed the story as her first novel, The Bluest Eye (1970). She wrote it while raising two children and teaching at Howard.
In addition to her novels, Morrison has written books for children with her younger son, Slade Morrison, who worked as a painter and musician.
Morrison was the subject of a film entitled Imagine – Toni Morrison Remembers, directed by Jill Nicholls and shown on BBC1 television on July 15, 2015, in which Morrison talked to Alan Yentob about her life and work.
In 2016, Oberlin College received a grant to complete a documentary film begun in 2014, The Foreigner's Home, about Morrison's intellectual and artistic vision. The film was executive-produced by Jonathan Demme, directed by Oberlin College Cinema Studies faculty Geoff Pingree and Rian Brown, and incorporates footage shot by Morrison's first-born son Harold Ford Morrison, who also consulted on the film.