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Tag Archives: Toni Morrison

Happy Birthday, Toni Morrison!

In honor of Ms. Morrison's 82nd birthday, we're looking back at our archives for some of our favorite moments from the esteemed author over the past few years. Take a walk down memory lane with us:  "Beloved" is named one of the "88 Books That Shaped America" by the Library of Congress:  Toni Morrison won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her post-Civil War novel based on the true story of an escaped slave and the tragic consequences when a posse comes to reclaim her. The author won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993, and in 2006 The New York Times named "Beloved" "the best work of American fiction of the past 25 years." She wins the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom: In his personal remarks during the ceremony, President Obama said of Morrison's work, “I remember... Read More →

Are There Books On Your Holiday List? Here’s Three Books We Think You Should Include

If you haven't read it already, Junot Diaz' This is How You Lose Her is a terrific collection of short stories that reaffirmed NY Times book critic Michiko Kakutani belief that Diaz has "one of the most distinctive and magnetic voices in contemporary fiction."                      Multiple book critics have deemed Louise Erdrich's new novel the best she's written and that's saying a lot as her other 13 novels have been widely praised for her extraordinary storytelling skills. Watch a quick video of Erdrich discussing her latest.                      Do we need to say more about Toni Morrison? We don't think so. We've enjoyed her many interviews this year while on... Read More →

In A Disaster, Do People Need Books As Much As They Need Other Supplies?

Several Nobel laureates, Libraries Without Borders and dozens of authors believe so. They are petitioning for books to be considered crucial in disaster relief. Among those who have signed the petition are Anisfield-Wolf winners Toni Morrison, Junot Diaz, Joyce Carol Oates and Edwidge Danticat. Patrick Weil, chairman of Libraries Without Borders, says they are urging the UN to consider "nourishment of the mind" a fundamental resource in disaster relief. This first came about after the Haiti earthquake in 2010, when the organization was contacted about rebuilding a destroyed library.  Weil said:  "The first priority is life, but when life is secure, what can people do if they are staying in a camp? They cannot do anything, and they can become depressed. Once life is secured,... Read More →

Toni Morrison To Speak At Harvard Divinity School

 On December 6, Toni Morrison will deliver the Ingersoll Lecture on Immortality at 5 pm in Sanders Theatre on the Harvard campus. Throughout the fall semester, Harvard Divinity School has hosted a working group on the religious dimensions of Morrison's writings. Watch the video here.   If you're interested in attending, tickets may be requested from the Harvard Box Office. Limit of 2 tickets per person. Tickets are available by phone and internet for a fee, or in person at the Holyoke Center Box Office. Call 617.496.2222 or reserve online at www.boxoffice.harvard.edu. Limited availability. Tickets are valid until 5:00 pm on the day of the event. The event will be live-streamed via a link on the Harvard Divinity School home page beginning at 5:15 pm.  If you are in the area and able... Read More →

School Board Member Objects To Textbook Review Process, Cites “Song Of Solomon” As Example Of Inappropriate Book

More than 35 years after being published, Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon" is behind a bit of controversy in the Frederick, Maryland school district.  From the Frederick News Post:  School board member April Miller would not vote to make "Song of Solomon" available in Frederick County high schools. The novel by Toni Morrison, which details the life of an African-American male living in Michigan from the 1930s through 1960s, includes graphic sexual and violent content. "It's definitely not something I want my 14-year-old reading," she said Thursday in a phone interview. Miller's daughter will be a high school freshman next year. "Song of Solomon" was set to be approved Wednesday in the Frederick County Board of Education's consent agenda, which requires only a yes or no vote with... Read More →

Incredible Artwork Of The One And Only Toni Morrison

We found this piece of art by local artist John Sokol fascinating. In it, he uses words to fill in the visage of Ms. Toni Morrison (perhaps words from her own works?). Visit the link to see more of his "word portraits," including those of James Joyce, Dante, and more. Read More →

We Would Pay Top Dollar Just To Hear Toni Morrison Speak

Anytime - and we do mean anytime – there is a new Toni Morrison interview or book or appearance, we pay attention. Not just because she is a 1988 Anisfield-Wolf winner, but because she is a literary treasure. She is 81 now, having spent roughly half her life as an author of note and with is comes the freedom and space to say exactly how she feels about any given topic.  She recently sat with a writer from the Daily Telegraph for an in-depth interview in advance of her latest work, a play, which opened in London this month. In it, she collaborates with director Peter Sellars and Rokia Traore to retell the story of "Othello," one of Shakespeare's most-known works, this time giving more depth to Desdemona, Othello's lover and wife.  In the incredibly rich interview, Morrison talks... Read More →

Huffington Post Reveals 50 Books Every African American Should Read – How Many AW Winners Made The List?

Gwendolyn BrooksHuffington Post's Black Voices rounded up 50 books the editors think every African American should read (they added on Twitter that of course the list has value to everyone, but these books focus primarily on the black experience in America). We were thrilled to see how many Anisfield-Wolf winners were on the list, proving to us once again that our winners stand out in the crowded literary field.  Gwendolyn Brooks "Annie Allen" (1949) Edwidge Danticat "Breath, Eyes, Memory" (1999) Chimamanda Adichie "Half Of A Yellow Sun" (2008) Ralph Ellison "Invisible Man" (1952) Edward P. Jones "The Known World" (2003)  Alex Haley "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" (1987) Toni Morrison "Song of Solomon" (1977), "Sula" (1973) and "The Bluest Eye" (1970) Langston... Read More →

88 Books That Shaped America (According To The Library Of Congress)

No, it's not a "best books of all-time" list, but the list assembled by the Library of Congress, to celebrate the works that most define our nation's history, is pretty close. There's some stand-outs, like Thomas Paine's Common Sense and Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat. But the list particularly caught our eye because there are several Anisfield-Wolf winners on the list—and we're thrilled. Check out who made the cut. Descriptions are pulled from the Library of Congress website:  Langston Hughes, "The Weary Blues" (1925) Langston Hughes was one of the greatest poets of the Harlem Renaissance, a literary and intellectual flowering that fostered a new black cultural identity in the 1920s and 1930s. His poem "The Weary Blues," also the title of this poetry collection, won first prize in a... Read More →

Toni Morrison Discusses “Home” (VIDEO) + Receives Presidential Medal Of Freedom

May has been an incredible month for Ms. Morrison. She released her latest novel, Home, to rave reviews and she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday, May 29. In the clip above, she discusses her novel and her intention to help us remember what the 50s were really like.  We were also treated to this incredible photo of President Obama and Ms. Morrison sharing a private moment after the awards ceremony. Wonder what they were talking about?  During the ceremony, President Obama remarked that this year's honorees were also his personal heroes, adding a special note about Toni Morrison. "I remember reading Song of Solomon when I was a kid," he said. "Not just trying to figure out how to write, but also how to be. And how to think."     Read More →
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