The first black woman to receive the Nobel prize for literature, author Toni Morrison died on Monday night at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, according to the Associated Press and as noted by her publisher.
Morrison was 88.
She received her Nobel in 1993.
In bestowing that award on her, the Swedish academy praised her use of language in her work as well as her “visionary force.”
In her novel “Beloved,” a mother makes the tragic choice to murder her own baby in order to save the child from slavery — that book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988.
Oprah Winfrey played Margaret, the mother, in the novel’s 1998 film adaptation.
Throughout her life, Morrison was “lauded for her examination of the female experience within the black community,” as Fox News noted on Tuesday morning.
Morrison also received the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2012.
“We are profoundly sad to report that Toni Morrison has died at the age of 88,” her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, said in a statement.
We are profoundly sad to report that Toni Morrison has died at the age of eighty-eight.
“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”
February 18, 1931 – August 5, 2019 pic.twitter.com/DWnElCpMKc
— Alfred A. Knopf (@AAKnopf) August 6, 2019
"It has to be both: beautiful & political at the same time. I’m not interested in art that is not in the world. And it’s not just the narrative, it’s not just the story; it’s the language & the structure & what’s going on behind it."
—Toni Morrison (1931–2019) pic.twitter.com/FEncMHvTX3
— Poets.org (@POETSorg) August 6, 2019
Morrison’s novels included “Beloved,” “The Bluest Eye,” “Sula,” “Song of Solomon,” “Tar Baby,” “Jazz,” “Paradise,” “Gold Help the Child,” “Home,” “A Mercy” and “Love.”
“Morrison’s novels were celebrated and embraced by booksellers, critics, educators, readers and librarians,” the publisher said.
“Her work also ignited controversy, notably in school districts that tried to ban her books. Few American writers won more awards for their books and writing,” as NBC News reported.
When awarding her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, then-President Barack Obama declared, “Toni Morrison’s prose brings us that kind of moral and emotional intensity that few writers ever attempt.”
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