Oprah Winfrey and Toni Morrison

Oprah Winfrey and Toni Morrison attend the Carl Sandburg literary awards dinner at the University of Illinois at Chicago Forum in 2010.

— PHOTO: Daniel Boczarkski/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Here’s a look at the life of Pulitzer- and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison.


Birthdate: Feb. 18, 1931

Death date: Aug. 5, 2019

Birthplace: Lorain, Ohio

Birth name: Chloe Ardelia Wofford; she took the name Chloe Anthony Wofford upon becoming a Catholic at 12, then changed it to Toni Morrison for her first published novel, “The Bluest Eye”

Father: George Wofford

Mother: Ella Ramah (Willis) Wofford

Marriage: Harold Morrison (1958-1964, divorced)

Children: Slade and Harold Ford

Education: Howard University, B.A., 1953; Cornell University, M.A., 1955

Other facts:

• Is the first African-American woman to win a Nobel Prize.

• Wrote the libretto for “Margaret Garner,” which premiered in 2005.


1955-1957 — Teaches at Texas Southern University.

1963-1983 — Works as an editor at Random House.

1970 — “The Bluest Eye” is published.

1973 — “Sula” is published.

1977 — “Song of Solomon” is published.

1981 — “Tar Baby” is published.

1984 -1989 — Serves as the Albert Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities at the State University of New York in Albany.

1987 — “Beloved” is published.

1988 — Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for “Beloved.”

1989-2006 — Serves as the Robert F. Goheen Chair in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University.

1993 — Awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature.

1998 — The film version of “Beloved,” starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover, is released.

2000 — Awarded the National Humanities Medal.

2001 — Given the Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts.

2001 — Given the Enoch Pratt Free Library Lifetime Literary Achievement Award.

2004 — “Remember: The Journey to School Integration” is published.

2004 — Awarded the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work-Fiction for “Love.”

2005 — Given the Coretta Scott King Award for “Remember: The Journey to School Integration.”

2010 — Morrison’s son Slade dies from pancreatic cancer.

May 2012 — Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

2013 — Wins the NYC Literary Honors for Fiction.

April 2015 — Morrison is announced as the 2016 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University.

2017 — “The Origin of Others” is published.

2018 — Oprah Winfrey presents Morrison with The Center for Fiction’s “Lifetime of Excellence in Fiction” honor.

2019 — The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations is published.

2019 — The documentary “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” premieres at the Sundance Film Festival.

— (CNN and Tribune staff)

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