The post R.I.P. Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize-winning author of Beloved, dead at 88 appeared first on Consequence of Sound.
Toni Morrison, the Nobel Prize and Pulitzer-winning author behind Beloved and a leading figure of the black literary movement, has died at the age of 88.
Her death was first reported by Vulture and confirmed by the Associated Press, citing a source at her publisher, Knopf.
A native of Lorain, Ohio and graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC, Morrison began her career as a textbook editor at Random House. Within two years, she became the first black woman senior editor at the publishing house’s fiction department. While there, she played a crucial role in bringing black literature to the mainstream, publishing works by Angela Davis, Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Toni Cade Bambara, and Gayl Jones.
In the 1970s, Morrison began writing fiction for herself. Her second novel, 1973’s Sula, was nominated for the National Book Award, and its follow-up, 1977’s Song of Solomon, won the National Book Critics Circle Award.
In 1987, Morrison published Beloved, inspired by the true story of an African-American slave named Margaret Garner. The novel spent 25 weeks on the New York Times best-selling list, and was later awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. A year later, Oprah Winfrey produced a film adaptation directed by Jonathan Demme and staring Danny Glover, Thandie Newton, and Winfrey herself.
Morrison went on turn Beloved into a trilogy with the publication of 1992’s Jazz and 1997’s Paradise.
Among her many accolades, Morrison was the first black woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. In 1996, she received the National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, which is awarded to a writer “who has enriched our literary heritage over a life of service, or a corpus of work.” And in 2012, President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Metal of Freedom.
In his remarks recognizing Morrison’s legacy, President Obama said, “Toni Morrison’s prose brings us that kind of moral and emotional intensity that few writers ever attempt. From Song of Solomon to Beloved, Toni reaches us deeply, using a tone that is lyrical, precise, distinct, and inclusive. She believes that language arcs toward the place where meaning might lie. The rest of us are lucky to be following along for the ride.”
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