Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friday Speak Out: Toni Morrison

Born Chloe Anthony Wofford, in 1931 in Lorain (Ohio), the second of four children in a black working-class family. Displayed an early interest in literature. Studied humanities at Howard and Cornell Universities, followed by an academic career at Texas Southern University, Howard University, Yale, and since 1989, a chair at Princeton University. She has also worked as an editor for Random House, a critic, and given numerous public lectures, specializing in African-American literature. She made her debut as a novelist in 1970, soon gaining the attention of both critics and a wider audience for her epic power, unerring ear for dialogue, and her poetically-charged and richly-expressive depictions of Black America. A member since 1981 of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she has been awarded a number of literary distinctions, among them the Pulitzer Prize in 1988.

Beloved is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Jazz and Paradise are also classic. I learned somewhere that Beloved, Jazz and Paradise are actually supposed to be a trilogy on the post-emancipation African American experience....

Listen to the speech Morrison gave when she won the Nobel Prize for Literature 1993 here.

(Courtesy for bio and speech)

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