Toni Morrison: The Last Interview

and Other Conversations

In this wide-ranging collection of thought-provoking interviews — including her first and last — Toni Morrison (whom President Barrack Obama called a “national treasure”) details not only her writing life, but also her other careers as a teacher, and as a publisher, as well as the gripping story of her family. In fact, Morrison reveals here that her Nobel Prize-winning novels, such as Beloved and Song of Solomon, were born out of her family’s stories — such as those of her great-grandmother, born a slave, or her father, escaping the lynch mobs of the South. With an introduction by her close friend, poet Nikki Giovani, Morrison hereby weaves yet another fascinating and inspiring narrative — that of herself.

Toni Morrison was born Chloe Ardelia Wofford (her nickname Toni would come from her baptismal name, Anthony) in Lorain, Ohio. After graduating from Howard University, and getting a masters at Cornell University, she became an English professor, first at Texas Southern University, then back at Howard. When her marriage to Harold Morrison broke up in 1964, leaving her with their two sons, she decided to change careers. Morrison got a job at Random House as the company’s first African-American fiction editor. She would go on to work with many notable authors, including Angela Davis, Muhammad Ali, and Toni Cade Bambara. Simultaneously, she began working on her own writing, and in 1970 would publish her first novel, The Bluest Eye. The book was extremely well-received, as was her second novel, Sula, and Morrison’s third novel, Song of Solomon, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. She would go on to write several more novels –perhaps most notable, Beloved—as well as plays and poetry, and in 1993 she was awarded the Noble Prize in Literature.