Toni Morrison, Author And Nobel Laureate, Dies Aged 88
Influential US author Toni Morrison has died at the age of 88. The Nobel-prize winning writer died in New York on Monday, 5 August, following a short illness, surrounded by family and friends.
Her family paid tribute to their “adored mother and grandmother” as they confirmed the news in a statement, adding: “Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well lived life. While we would like to thank everyone who knew and loved her, personally or through her work, for their support at this difficult time, we ask for privacy as we mourn this loss to our family.”
In 1993, Morrison became the first black woman to win a Nobel Prize for her work, which focussed on the African-American experience. And in 2012, Barack Obama presented Morrison with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the US.
Born in Ohio in 1931, the author was best known for her 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Beloved, set in her home state, which was made into a film starring Oprah Winfrey in 1998. Morrison’s other best-selling titles include The Bluest Eye (1970), Song of Solomon (1977) and Jazz (1992).
Morrison’s publisher has also paid tribute to the writer. Describing her remarkable influence, Sonny Mehta, chairman of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, said: “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.”
Morrison’s quote on life and death, taken from her 1993 Nobel Lecture, is already being shared on social media following the news of her passing. “We die. That may be the meaning of life,” the author said. “But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”