RiP Toni Morrison
American author Toni Morrison has died, aged 88.
US publisher Holt, Rinehart & Winston published Morrison’s debut novel The Bluest Eye in 1970. Alfred A Knopf published Morrison’s novel Sula in 1973, as well as her nine following novels.
In 1988 Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for Beloved. Between writing Jazz (1993) and Paradise (1997), Morrison became the first black woman awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Morrison published the novels Love in 2003, A Mercy in 2008 and Home in 2012, and in the same year President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her final novel was God Help the Child in 2015 and in the following year, she received the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.
Before becoming an author Morrison worked as an editor at L W Singer from 1965 and Random House from 1967 to 1983. Morrison also taught creative writing and literature part-time for more than 50 years at universities in the US and held the Robert F Goheen Chair in the Humanities at Princeton University from 1989 until her retirement in 2006.
Knopf chairman Sonny Mehta writes:
‘Toni Morrison’s working life was spent in the service of literature: writing books, reading books, editing books, teaching books. I can think of few writers in American letters who wrote with more humanity or with more love for language than Toni.
‘Her narratives and mesmerising prose have made an indelible mark on our culture. Her novels command and demand our attention. They are canonical works, and more importantly, they are books that remain beloved by readers.’