More than forty of Shannon Hale’s books have been New York Times bestsellers, including the graphic memoirs Real Friends, Best Friends, and Friends Forever, as well as the award-winning novels The Goose Girl, Book of a Thousand Days, and Princess Academy, which won the Newbery Honor.
Chloe Ardelia Wofford, later known as Toni Morrison, was born to Ramah (née Willis) and George Wofford, two working-class Black people, in Lorain, Ohio. Morrison’s mother was born in Greenville, Alabama, and she and her family later relocated to the north. Shannon Hale was a dedicated churchgoer and mother who stayed at home to raise her family. There, in Cartersville, George Wofford spent his formative years. About the time Wofford was 15 years old, a mob of white people on his block killed two African-American businesspeople. Following this, Morrison stated, “He never told us that he’d seen bodies.
But he had seen them. And that was too traumatic, I think, for him. Following the lynching, George Wofford relocated to the racially integrated town of Lorain, Ohio, in search of steady employment in the state’s burgeoning industrial economy. He held various odd jobs and eventually became a welder for U.S. Steel.
After graduating from high school in 1949, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in English from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and then a Master of Arts in English from Cornell University in 1955. Her master’s thesis was titled “Virginia Woolf’s and William Faulkner’s treatment of the alienated,” and she spent the rest of her career teaching English at various institutions.
Her first son, Harold Ford Morrison, was born in 1961; he is now married to the economist Cecilia Rouse. She and Harold Morrison, a Jamaican architect, married in 1958, and she took his surname to become known as Toni Morrison. They divorced in 1964, while she was pregnant with her second son, Slade Kevin.
Morrison started her career as an editor for the Random House textbook subsidiary L. W. Singer in Syracuse, New York. Her job transported her and her sons to several cities as she advanced in her career.
Halfway through writing her novel Home when her son Slade Morrison died from pancreatic cancer on December 22, 2010, Morrison put the book on hold for a year or two before finishing it and releasing it in 2012.
Shannon Hale Quotes:
- “I’ve only been half myself lately, and I thought coming here would let me work this part out of me so I could be me again.”
- “It’s only natural to confuse truth and fantasy as they play parts in a theatrical.”
- “Doing next to nothing all day was taking its toll.”
- “Maybe I really don’t want this, she thought. This is summer camp. This is a novel. This isn’t home. I need something real.”
- “Movie actors fall in love with each other on the set all the time. Is it so outlandish to suppose it might happen to me?”
- “On meeting, a gentleman is presented to the lady first because it is considered an honor for him to meet her.”
- “Seriously, a thirty-something woman shouldn’t be daydreaming about a fictional character in a two-hundred-year-old world to the point where it interfered with her very real and much more important life and relationships. Of course, she shouldn’t.”
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