Twentieth Century Literary Giants
Photograph by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.
Toni Morrison is best known for her novels such as Song of Solomon (1977) and Beloved (1987), which were highly praised by critics (Beloved won the Pulitzer Prize in 1987), and have appeared as flagship titles of Oprah Winfrey's Book Club. However, she has made numerous contributions to other genres as well, among them numerous essays on topical issues and an historical collection of print artifacts that chronicle African American lives and cultural expression known as The Black Book (1974). In addition to these projects, Morrison has worked as a playwright, a lyricist and children's book writer, a senior editor at Random House, and a visiting professor at a number of universities. Her many contributions to literature and the level of recognition she has achieved have firmly established Morrison as one of the most successful contemporary American writers. In 1993 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first African American to receive the award.