Author Chronology

1931–1965  |


Born February 18 in Lorain, Ohio to George and Ella Ramah Wofford.



Graduated Lorain High School



Graduated Howard University. B. A. English; Classics Minor.



Earned Master’s Degree from Cornell University. Masters Thesis: The Treatment of the Alienated in Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner.



Teaches at Texas Southern University.



Returns to Howard to teach.



Married Harold Morrison, Jamaican Architect. Couple has two sons, Harold Ford and Slade Kevin.



Joined writers groups at Howard.



Moved to Random House’s New York City headquarters as senior editor.



Hired as Senior Editor with textbook publisher L.W. Singer in Syracuse, New York (Subsidiary of Random House).


1966–1985  |


The Bluest Eye, her first novel, is published by Holt, Rhinehart, Winston.



Sula published by Knopf.



Sula nominated for the American Book Award.

Received Ohioana Book Award for Sula.



Song of Solomon, published by Knopf. Song of Solomon was chosen as a Book-of -the Month-Selection, the first by an African American author since Richard Wright’s Native Son.



Received the National Book Critics’ Circle Award and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Song of Solomon.

Named distinguished writer by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Received Oscar Micheaux Award, Friends of Writers Award and the Cleveland Arts Prize for Literature for Song of Solomon.



Appointed to National Council on the Arts.



Tar Baby, published by Knopf.

Elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Appeared on cover of March issue of Newsweek Magazine.



Published “Recitatif,” a short story, in Confirmations: An Anthology of African American Women Writers. Ed. Amira Baraka and Amina Baraka. New York: Quill, 1983.



Resigned from Random House after 18-year career.



Named to the Albert Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities, College of the Humanities and Fine Arts, State University of New York, Albany.


1986–2000  |


Wrote Dreaming Emmett, an unpublished play directed by Gilbert Moses and performed at the Marketplace Capitol Repertory Theater of Albany. Commissioned by the New York State Writers Institute. Play won New York State Governor’s Award.



Beloved, was published by Knopf.

Received Anisfield Wolf Book Award in Race Relations.



Received Pulitzer Prize for Beloved.

Inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Received Melcher Book Award (Beloved).

Received Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.

Delivered Robert C. Tanner Lecture at the University of Michigan.

Received City of New York Mayor’s Award of Honor for Art and Culture.

Received Elmer Holmes Bobst Award for Fiction (Beloved).

Received State of Ohio, Ohioana Career Medal Award.



Appointed to the Robert Goheen Chair in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University.

Received Modern Language Association of America Commonwealth Award in Literature.

Received Sara Lee Corporation Front Runner Award in the Arts.



Delivered Massey Lectures at Harvard University.

Delivered the First Chazen Lecture at the University of Wisconsin.

Delivered Charter Lecture at the University of Georgia.

Delivered Clark Lectures Trinity College Cambridge, England.

Awarded Chianti Ruffino Antico Fattore International Literary Prize.

Received Chubb Fellowship, Yale University.



Playing in the Dark: Essays on Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (critical essays on American Literature) published by Harvard University Press.

Jazz published by Knopf.

Edited Race-ing Justice, En- Gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality published by Pantheon.



Awarded Nobel Prize for Literature.

Awarded Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (Paris, France).

Honey and Rue, (Lyrics) a cycle of six songs commissioned by Carnegie Hall for soprano Kathleen Battle. Composer Andre Previn.



Received Pearl Buck Award, Pearl Buck Foundation.

Received Premio Internazionale. “Citta dello Stretto.” Rhegium Julii, Reggio Calabria, Italy.

Received Condorcet Medal.

Awarded International Condorcet Chair, Ecole Normale Superieure and College de France.

Delivered Condorcet Lecture, College de France.

“Four Songs.” (Lyrics) Composer Andre Previn. Performed by Sylvia McNair at Carnegie Hall.



Named Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

The Dancing Mind, National Book Foundation Lecture published by Knopf.



Edited (with Claudia Brodsky Lacour) Birth of a Nation’hood: Gaze, Script, Script, and Spectacle in the O.J. Simpson Case, a collection of essays on the O. J. Simpson Case, published by Pantheon.



“Sweet Talk” ( Lyrics). Composer Richard Danielpour. Performed by Jessye Norman at Carnegie Hall.



Paradise published by Knopf.

“Spirits in the Well” (Lyrics) Composer Richard Danielpour. Performed by Jessye Norman at Avery Fisher Hall.

Received Medal of Honor for Literature, National Arts Club, New York.

Named A. D. White Professor-At-Large, Cornell University.

Delivered Moffitt Lecture Princeton University.

Delivered Berliner Lektionen Theater, Berlin.

Beloved, the movie, starring Oprah Winfrey and directed by Jonathan Demme.

Received GRAMMY Nomination for Best Spoken Word Album, Beloved.



Received Ohioana Book Award for Fiction, Columbus, Ohio.

Received Oklahoma Book Award, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Received Ladies Home Journal Woman of the Year Award.

Received Orange Prize Nomination, London, England.

The Big Box, (children’s book), co-authored with son, Slade, published by Hyperion.



Woman.Mind.Song (Lyrics). Composer Judith Wier. Performed by Jessye Norman at Carnegie Hall.

Awarded the National Humanities Medal.


2001–present  |


Received Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, Providence, Rhode Island.

Received Jean Kennedy Smith NYU Creative Writing Award, New York, New York.

Received Enoch Pratt Free Library Lifetime Literary Achievement Award, Baltimore, Maryland.

Awarded Cavore Prize, Turrin, Italy.

Fete du Livre, Cite du Livre, Les Ecritures Croisees, Aix-en- Provence, France.



Delivered University of Toronto Alexander Lecture, Toronto, Ontario.

Delivered United Nations Secretary General’s Lecture Series.

Margaret Garner ( Libretto). Opera Co-commissioned by Michigan Opera Theatre, Cincinnati Opera, and Opera Company of Philadelphia, composer Richard Danielpour.



The Book of Mean People with Slade Morrison, published by Hyperion.



Who’s Got Game Series: The Ant and the Grasshopper?( 2003); The Lion or the Mouse? (2003); The Poppy or the Snake? (2004), The Mirror or the Glass? (2005) with Slade Morrison, published by Scribners’.



Love published by Knopf.

Received Docteures Honoris Causa. Ecole Normale Superieure. Paris, France.



Remember: The Journey to School Integration published by Houghton Mifflin.

Delivered Amnesty International Lecture Edinburgh, Scotland.

Received Academy of Culture, “Arts and Communities,” Paris, France.

Received NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work- Fiction.



Received Coretta Scott King Award, American Library Association.

World Premier of the Opera Margaret Garner (Detroit).

Cincinnati Premier of the opera, Margaret Garner.

Awarded Doctor of Letters Degree, Oxford University, Oxford, England.

Delivered Leon Forest Lecture, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.



Philadelphia Premier of the Opera, Margaret Garner (February).

Charlotte Premier of the Opera, Margaret Garner (April).

Awarded Honorary Doctorate of Letters, the Sorbonne, Paris, France.

Beloved chosen as one of the best works of American Fiction in the last 25 years by the New York Times.

Retired from 17-year career at Princeton.

Salute to Toni Morrison at Lincoln at Jazz Center.

Curator “A Foreigner’s Home” exhibit at the Louvre Museum, Paris, France.



Curator “Art is Otherwise” Humanities Programs in New York City. Sponsored by the French Alliance.

Received the Ellie Charles Artist Award from African Voices at Columbia University.

Named Radcliffe Medalist by the Radcliff Institute at Harvard.

New York Premiere of Margaret Garner. New York City Opera ( September).

Received Lifetime Achievement award and named one of 21 Women of the Year by Glamour Magazine.