Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winner, turns 88

    FILE - In this May 29, 2012 file photo, author Toni Morrison receives her Medal of Freedom award during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Nobel literature laureate Morrison and James Patterson received Distinguished Service Awards at the Authors Guild's 25th annual gala in New York City on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

    Toni Morrison, the first black woman to ever be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, turned 88 on Monday.

    In addition to the Nobel Prize in 1993 and a Grammy in 2008, Morrison won numerous other literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. (See a full list below)

    President Barack Obama gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

    Born in Lorain, Ohio, on February 18, 1931, to Ramah and George Wofford, she was named Chloe Ardelia Wofford.

    Morrison earned a B.A. in English from Howard University in 1953 and a Master of Arts from Cornell University in 1955. She later taught at Howard for seven years. She is a professor emeritus at Princeton University.

    In 1958 while she was teaching at Howard, she married Harold Morrison, a Jamaican architect. They had two sons before they divorced in 1964.

    In 1988, Morrison won the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel, Beloved. Ten years later, the novel was adapted for a film starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover.

    Her first novel was The Bluest Eye in 1970. Other celebrated novels include Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Jazz, Paradise, and God Help the Child.

    In 2008, Morrison won the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children with Who's Got Game? The Ant or the Grasshopper? The Lion or the Mouse? Poppy or the Snake?

    She has been awarded Honorary Doctor of Letters from Harvard University, Oxford University, Rutgers University, and the University of Geneva.

    According to, her awards and honors include:

    1977: National Book Critics Circle Award for Song of Solomon

    1977: American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award

    1987–88: Robert F. Kennedy Book Award

    1988: Helmerich Award

    1988: American Book Award for Beloved

    1988: Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Race Relations for Beloved

    1988: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Beloved

    1988: Frederic G. Melcher Book Award for Beloved. A remark in her acceptance speech that "there is no suitable memorial or plaque or wreath or wall or park or skyscraper lobby" honoring the memory of the human beings forced into slavery and brought to the United States; "There's no small bench by the road," led the Toni Morrison Society to begin installing benches at significant sites in the history of slavery in America; the first "bench by the road" was dedicated July 26, 2008, on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, the point of entry for about 40 percent of the enslaved Africans brought to British North America.

    1989: MLA Commonwealth Award in Literature

    1989: Honorary Doctor of Letters at Harvard University

    1993: Nobel Prize for Literature

    1993: Commander of the Arts and Letters, Paris

    1994: Condorcet Medal, Paris

    1994: Rhegium Julii Prize for Literature

    1996: Jefferson Lecture

    1996: National Book Foundation's Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters

    2000: National Humanities Medal

    2002: 100 Greatest African Americans, list by Molefi Kete Asante

    2005: Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University

    2008: New Jersey Hall of Fame inductee

    2009: Norman Mailer Prize, Lifetime Achievement

    2010: Officier de la Légion d'Honneur

    2011: Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction

    2011: Honorary Doctor of Letters at Rutgers University Graduation Commencement

    2011: Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Geneva

    2012: Presidential Medal of Freedom

    2013: The Nichols-Chancellor's Medal awarded by Vanderbilt University

    2014 Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award given by the National Book Critics Circle

    2016 PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction

    2016 The Charles Eliot Norton Professorship in Poetry (The Norton Lectures), Harvard University

    2016 The Edward MacDowell Medal, awarded by The MacDowell Colony

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