Quote of the Week: Toni Morrison

Happy birthday to literature’s great Toni Morrison who turns 84 today! We salute her with a quote from one of her famous books, 'Song of Solomon.'
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Toni Morrison quote

"You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down." - Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon (Photo: Rena Schild / Shutterstock)

Did you know?

Toni Morrison’s family and closest friends call her by her real name, Chloe Wofford. She acquired the nickname “Toni” from her saint’s name, Anthony, and found it was easier for people to pronounce. She’s been divorced for almost 50 years from ex-husband Harold Morrison. Still Toni Morrison carries on, though Chloe Wofford makes it clear that she does all the writing. 

Here's an excerpt from a 1994 New York Times interview with the award-winning author about her unplanned name change and misnamed fame.

Q: It must have been fulfilling, in 1970, to see your name on the cover of "The Bluest Eye."

A: I was upset. They had the wrong name: Toni Morrison. My name is Chloe Wofford. Toni's a nickname.

Q: Didn't you know that your publisher, Holt, was going to use the name?

A: Well, I sort of knew it was going to happen. I was in a daze. I sent it in that way because the editor knew me as Toni Morrison.

Q: So you achieved fame misnamed?

A: Tell me about it! I write all the time about being misnamed. How you got your name is very special. My mother, my sister, all my family call me Chloe. It was Chloe, by the way, who went to Stockholm last year to get the Nobel Prize.