Richard Lea at The Guardian:
Born in an Ohio steel town in the depths of the Great Depression, Morrison carved out a literary home for the voices of African Americans, first as an acclaimed editor and then with novels such as The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon and Beloved. Over the course of a career that garnered honours including the Pulitzer prize, the Nobel prize, the Légion d’Honneur and a Presidential Medal of Freedom presented to her in 2012 by her friend Barack Obama, her work became part of the fabric of American life as it was woven into high school syllabuses up and down the country.
The house where Morrison was born in 1931 stands about a mile from the gates of the Lorain steel factory in Ohio – the first of a series of apartments the family lived in while her father added odd jobs to his shifts at the plant to make the rent. He defied his supervisor and took a second unionised job so he could send his daughter to college. After studying English at Howard University and Cornell, she returned to Washington DC to teach, marrying the architect Howard Morrison and giving birth to two sons.