Author Toni Morrison dies at 88

Celebrated novelist and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison has died

Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, best known for her novels Beloved, Song of Solomon, Sula, and The Bluest Eye, has passed away at the age of 88. Morrison died Monday night at Montefiore Medical Center in NY after a brief illness, the publisher said.

Morrison went on to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the 1996 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.

"It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our adored mother and grandmother, Toni Morrison, passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends", her family said in a statement shared with USA Today.

Few authors rose in such rapid, spectacular style.

"We die; that may be the meaning of life", Morrison said in her Nobel Prize lecture, citing the folktale of a wise blind woman.

In 2019 she was featured in an acclaimed documentary, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am. "It is, I believe, one of the principal ways in which we absorb knowledge".

In 2012 Morrison was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama, who called her a national treasure.

She does this via a 20-something man returning from the Korean War to his family in Seattle - "discharged from an integrated Army into a segregated homeland", as The New York Times put it in a review when the novel was published. In prose as compressed as it is startlingly evocative, Morrison relocates the original sin of America in the pre-Colonial era, as she tells the story of a teenage slave named Florens.

Morrison started her early publishing career as an editor, first in textbooks, then for general circulation books. "She was as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page".

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"And I don't know which I will miss more", he added.

"I made it my business to collect African Americans who were vocal, either politically, or just writing wonderful fiction", she said. "I thought the editing was sloppy", she recalled. I felt more woman than ever.

Morrison was born on February 18, 1931 in Loraine, Ohio.

"To take our minds off pain and chickenpox", she wrote. She graduated from Howard University in Washington, and earned a master's degree from Cornell University.

Through her books, Morrison explored race, racism and the pursuit of freedom within societal boundaries. She had two children - her sons, Slade and Harold.

But although she went on to teach there, Howard disappointed her. Campus life seemed closer to a finishing school than to an institution of learning. Morrison wanted that, too, but wondered what kind.

Morrison was also nurturer of young Black writers. In a 2015 interview with the Guardian centered around her book "God Help the Child", about a dark-skinned woman named Bride who was rejected by her lighter-skinned mother, Morrison said, "I'm writing for black people".

In her novels, history - black history - was a trove of poetry, tragedy, love, adventure and gossip, whether in small-town OH in "Sula" or big-city Harlem in "Jazz".

Like Faulkner, her characters are burdened by the legacy, and ongoing tragedy, of slavery and separation. Filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders spoke with Morrison on her legacy and impact on future writers beyond what she left on paper for readers. "Nothing could be counted on in a world where even when you were a solution you were a problem".

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