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American writer Toni Morrison was born in 1931 in Ohio. She was raised in an African American family filled with songs and stories of Southern myths, which later shaped her prose. Her happy family life led to her excellent performance in school, despite the atmosphere of racial discrimination in the society.
After graduating from college, Morrison started to work as a teacher and got married in 1958. Several years later, her marriage began to fail. For a temporary escape, she joined a small writers’ group, in which each member was required to bring a story or poem for discussion. She wrote a story based on the life of a girl she knew in childhood who had prayed to God for blue eyes. The story was well received by the group, but then she put it away, thinking she was done with it.
In 1964, Morrison got divorced and devoted herself to writing. One day, she dusted off the story she had written for the writers’ group and decided to make it into a
novel. She drew on her memories from childhood and expanded upon them using her imagination so that the characters developed a life of their own. The Bluest Eye was eventually published in 1970. From 1970 to 1992, Morrison published five more novels.
In her novels, Morrison brings in different elements of the African American past, their struggles, problems and cultural memory. In Song of Solomon, for example, Morrison tells the story of an African American man and his search for identity in his culture. The novels and other works won her several prizes. In 1993, Morrison received the Nobel Prize in Literature. She is the eighth woman and the first African American woman to win the honor.