“If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~ Toni Morrison
And Morrison did exactly that. She wrote books that her readers loved to read and those that could not have been written better.
Nobel-winning author Toni Morrison passed away on 5th August at the age of 88 but her legacy will continue. On this sad day, we’d like to celebrate her life and works.
Widely popular and renowned for her works on slavery and African-Americans, Morrison has been a literary giant in modern American literature. She was considered a champion for the repressed minorities and apart from a writer, was an educator and editor.
Born Chloe Anthony Wofford in Lorain, Ohio in 1931, Morrison displayed a keen interest in literature from her early days. She pursued her education at Howard and Cornell Universities. This was followed by a teaching career in Howard, Yale, and Princeton.
Her first novel, ‘The Bluest Eye’ was published in 1970 which was followed by ‘Sula’ in 1973. However, she rose to prominence for her third book, ‘Song of Solomon,’ for which she was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award, the first of many accolades that she would receive across her distinguished career.
She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for her most famous book, ‘Beloved,’ which told the story of a runaway slave. The book was also made into a film starring Oprah Winfrey. The crowning jewel in her list of achievements was winning the Nobel Prize in 1993. She became the first Black woman ever to win the prestigious award. In the official release, the Nobel committee remarked that her work “characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.”
But the list of her awards doesn’t end there. In 1996, she was awarded the National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Also, in 2012, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
Apart from novels, she also wrote plays, children’s literature, and essay collections. The fact that her books were both commercial and critical successes is a testimony to her talent and genius as a writer.
Here is a list of her fiction novels:
The Bluest Eye, 1970
Song of Solomon, 1977
Tar Baby, 1981
A Mercy, 2008
God Help the Child, 2015
Tributes poured in from across the world on the sad demise of this decorated writer.
Former President Barack Obama remembered her as a “national treasure.”
Toni Morrison was a national treasure, as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page. Her writing was a beautiful, meaningful challenge to our conscience and our moral imagination. What a gift to breathe the same air as her, if only for a while. pic.twitter.com/JG7Jgu4p9t
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 6, 2019
While the world has, today, lost one of its best and treasured writers, Morrison and her work has left an indelible mark on literature lovers across the globe.0