Neglectful Reader #4 – Toni Morrison
Born Chloe Ardelia Wofford on February 18,1931 – Toni Morrison is a prolific novelist, editor ,professor and activist known for widely read bibliography. She was born in Lorain, Ohio to Ramah and George Wofford in a working-class family. As a child she began reading Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy. At a young age Morrison was heavily influenced by old black folk tales her father would tell her, as a child.
By 1949, Morrison entered Howard University and earned her Masters in English from Cornell University. At the collegiate level she had continued her fandom of great writers and studied the works of William Faulkner and Virginia Woolf. For the next step in her life Toni had major life changes that ranged from teaching English at Texas Southern University, marrying an architect Harold Morrison in 1958, having two children, divorcing Harold in 1964 and then becoming the editor of the New York City headquarters of Random House.
Ms. Morrison is an amazing example of how one can accomplish so much when they put their heart and soul into something they love and care about. Toni began writing fiction in a poetry group at Howard that met to discuss one another’s work. While attending the group she became inspired to write her first novel, ” The Bluest Eye”- a story about a black girl who longed to have blue eyes. This was the beginning of an amazing career of a writer , person and woman named Toni Morrison.
Through her vast collection of novels she became the voice for the voiceless. These amazing novels included: “Sula”,”Song of Soloman”(personal favorite), ‘Beloved”,”Tar Baby”, “Jazz”,”Paradise”,”Love”,”a Mercy”. As a black writer myself Ms. Morrison has always been a great inspiration and a positive mouth piece for young black writers.
Her work has amassed numerous awards-“National Book Critics Circle Award”(Song of Soloman), “Pulitzer Prize for Fiction” and “American Book Award”(Beloved). Not only did her work receive praise but, she did as well, in 1993 she was awarded the “Nobel Prize in Literature”. Toni was also awarded the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Book Foundations Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 1996.
Ms. Morrison wasn’t afraid to speak her mind on issues outside of the writing world as well, which also warms my heart personally , whether it be politics or social issues- Toni spoke her mind. to me this is the existential mind set that a writer should always have in his or her back pocket.
Toni , thank you for all that you have and will do for the writing world.I promise to never neglect you as a reader I promise…lol.