Toni Morrison (1931 - 2019)

David Kelly, Senior Librarian, Literature & Fiction Department,
Toni Morrison
Herald Examiner Collection/Los Angeles Public Library, [1984]

Toni Morrison, considered one of the world's great novelists, died August 5, 2019, in New York City at the age of 88. In 1993, Morrison became the first African-American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature; the Nobel committee described her as a writer "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality." Among the many other honors Morrison received over the course of her literary career were the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the American Book Award (for Beloved); the National Book Critics Circle Award (for Song of Solomon); and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Born in Lorain, Ohio, Morrison grew up in a working-class family. She received a B.A. in English from Howard University and a master's degree from Cornell, after which she taught English at Howard for several years. In 1965 she began working as a book editor for Random House, where she played an important role in introducing black literature into the mainstream before launching her own career as a fiction writer in 1970 with The Bluest Eye. Besides her ten subsequent novels, she also wrote nonfiction, children's books, plays, and lyrics for musical compositions. An acclaimed collection of "essays, speeches, and meditations", The Source of Self-Regard, was published in February.

Toni Morrison Bibliography


Book cover for The Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye
Morrison, Toni

Book cover for Sula
Morrison, Toni

Book cover for Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon
Morrison, Toni

Book cover for Tar Baby
Tar Baby
Morrison, Toni

Book cover for Beloved
Morrison, Toni

Book cover for Jazz
Morrison, Toni

Book cover for Paradise
Morrison, Toni

Book cover for Love
Morrison, Toni

Book cover for A Mercy
A Mercy
Morrison, Toni

Book cover for Home
Morrison, Toni

Book cover for God Help the Child
God Help the Child
Morrison, Toni


Children's Books

Ms. Morrison visited Central Library's Mark Taper Auditorium in 2008 as part of the award-winning ALOUD speaker series presented by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.