Toni Morrison is a literary legend and simply an incredible woman. Her work has held a respected place in the curriculums of high school and higher education since the seventies, therefore you are very likely familiar with at least one of her books, and you know what a talent she is.
Morrison has lived a very eventful life; here are just a few interesting facts about Toni Morrison you may not have already known.
“Toni Morrison” is a pen name.
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Morrison was born Chloe Adelia Wofford; “Toni” is a nickname derived from Anthony her baptismal name, which she began using because people had trouble pronouncing Chloe. Morrison is her married name.
One of her favorite authors is Jane Austen.
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Morrison has been an avid reader from a very early age, reading everything from Austen to Tolstoy, who rank among her favorite authors.
She wrote her college thesis on suicide in reference to the work of Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner.
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Morrison attended Howard University and graduated in 1953 with a degree in English. Afterwards, she went to Cornell University and earned a Master of Arts in English Literature.
She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
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Alpha Kappa Alpha is a legendary sorority founded at Howard University whose other notable members include Phylicia Rashad, Kamala Harris, Wanda Sykes, and Star Jones, and several honorary members, like Alicia Keys and Ava DuVernay.
Her original manuscripts were nearly lost in a house fire.
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On Christmas Day in 1993, the same year she became the first African American to win a Nobel Prize, her home caught fire. The home was almost completely destroyed, but a decent amount of her original manuscripts were spared. The fire was started by an errant fireplace ember which decided to take a seat on Morrison’s sofa.
She wrote the libretto to the opera, Margaret Garner.
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Margaret Garner was a real woman who was enslaved and attempted escape in 1856 after killing her own daughter to spare her from also being enslaved. Morrison has said that Garner was the inspiration for her book Beloved, and thus she was tapped to write the libretto to an opera composed by Richard Danielpour about Garner’s life.
She didn’t own a television until she was in college.
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She is a fan of Law & Order and The Walking Dead, but she does not abide by the Real Housewives, comparing the fervor around the series to bystanders glued to the site of a car crash: “Crashes. Like those Housewives. Do you really think that your life is bigger, deeper, more profound because your life is on television? And they do.”
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