Birthplace: Oklahoma City.
Typewriter: IBM Selectric
Ellison was born in Oklahoma City in 1914 seven years after the Territories are granted statehood. The name Ralph Ellison reverberates throughout contemporary Afro-American intellectual discourse. Hated or revered, Ellison is considered a formidable foe or ally. Of living Afro-American writers Ellison's influence among his black contemporaries is unsurpassed except perhaps by Amiri Baraka and, now, Toni Morrison. He has long been a standard-bearer for black fiction writers, an imprimatur of ethnic excellence. Ellison's status within black arts and letters was established in 1952 with the publication of Invisible Man. Although Invisible Man was not immediately celebrated in all circles, the book eventually brought Ellison both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and inaugurated a cycle of honors, appointments to learned bodies, and teaching positions that would continue for three decades. The significance of Ellison is quite remarkable insofar as he has not been particularly prolific. Though best known as a novelist, Ellison has published only one novel in over fifty years of writing.