Toni Morrison

A Biography

by Stephanie Li


The first African American woman to be honored with the Nobel Prize in Literature and the last American to receive the award, Toni Morrison has produced some of the most unforgettable writing on the African American experience ever published. In awarding her the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature, the selection committee noted that Morrison "gives life to an essential aspect of American reality."

Print Flyer
Cover image for Toni Morrison

December 2009


Pages 160
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics The Arts/General

This book is a revealing look at the life and work of Nobel laureate Toni Morrison.

Toni Morrison: A Biography looks at the remarkable life of an essential American novelist, whose critically acclaimed, bestselling books offer lively, powerful depictions of black America.

Toni Morrison follows the life of the woman born Chloe Ardelia Wofford from her culturally rich childhood in Lorrain, OH, through her spectacular rise as a novelist, educator, and public intellectual. The book also serves as a basic introduction to the literary influences that shaped Morrison’s writing, from the early novels to the breakout success of Song of Solomon; from the overwhelming achievement of Beloved to her most recent book, A Mercy. The book also examines Morrison’s other writing—criticism, essays, edited volumes, children’s books—as well as her academic career, her work as an editor at Random House, and her political activism, most notably in the 2008 presidential campaign.


  • Presents a detailed timeline of Toni Morrison’s life and career as a writer and academic
  • Offers a comprehensive bibliography of Morrison's works along with a bibliography of critical studies of her novels and electronic resources


  • Includes analysis of all of Morrison’s work, including the 2009 novel, A Mercy, and her recent edited collection, Burn This Book
  • Mixes portions of Morrison's interview statements with her literary work to provide a critical context for understanding her novels
  • Provides analysis of Morrison's contributions to the critical study of American literature as well as her interventions in such controversial national issues as the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings, the O.J. Simpson trial, and Barack Obama's presidential run
Series Description

Greenwood Biographies

Ideal for student research assignments, this series features interesting and important figures—contemporary and historical—drawn from a broad range of curriculum subject areas, including history, science, politics, literature, and the arts. The series fills a gap in reference collections, offering full-length, engagingly written biographies that are enjoyable to read, based on authoritative research, and fully documented. Each volume includes:
  • Coverage from birth to death or the present day
  • Timeline highlighting significant biographical events and career contributions
  • Portfolio of photographs depicting the subject at different stages of life
  • Bibliography of print and electronic resources recommended for further study

From Bob Marley and Dr. Dre to Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, the Greenwood Biographies spotlight the people who shape our world.
Author Info

Stephanie Li, PhD, is assistant professor of English at University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. She earned her PhD in English language and literature in May 2005 and her MFA in fiction writing in 2003, both from Cornell University. Her forthcoming book, Something Akin to Freedom: The Choice of Bondage in Narratives by African American Women, received the First Book Prize in African American Studies from SUNY Press. She has published articles in such journals as Callaloo, American Literature, and Legacy.

Look Inside

Other Titles of Interest

Stephen King cover imageGabriel García Márquez cover imageJudy Blume cover image
F. Scott Fitzgerald cover imageFlannery O'Connor cover imageSylvia Plath cover image

Product Search

Product Search

Publication Year



Need Help? Try our Search Tips