American novelist Toni Morrison—winner of the Pulitzer Prize (1988), the Nobel Prize for Literature (1993), and many other awards—has died at the age 88.
“Toni Morrison was a towering intellect, a brilliant scribe of our nation’s complex stories, a heartbreaking journalist of our deepest desires, and a groundbreaking author who destroyed precepts, walls and those who dared underestimate her capacity. Rest well and in peace.” —Stacey Abrams”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,” the Morrison family said in a statement released Tuesday morning. “She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother and aunt who reveled in being with her family and friends. The consummate writer who treasured the written word, whether her own, her students or others, she read voraciously and was most at home when writing. Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well lived life.”
Author of a number of famous nonfiction books as well as novels, including “Song of Solomon”, “The Bluest Eye”, and “Beloved”, Morrison was renowned for career as an editor and teacher of African American studies, humanities, and creative writing at Princeton University, where she was professor emeritus.
According to the New York Times:
Following the announcement, Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, remarked: “Rest in power to #ToniMorrison, one of the most prolific writers of our time.”
News of her death resulted in streams of condolences and remembrances online from progressive lawmakers, fans, and others:
Writing for The New Yorker in 2003, Hilton Als explored how Morrison not only changed the U.S. literary landscape overall, but “fostered a generation of black writers” with her editing career, novels, and teaching. Offering an overview of her career, Als wrote:
From Princeton, university president Christopher L. Eisgruber said, “Morrison’s brilliant vision, inspired creativity, and unique voice have reshaped American culture and the world’s literary tradition. Her magnificent works will continue to light a path forward for generations of readers and authors.”