“Something that is loved is never lost.”
-Toni Morrison, Beloved
Toni Morrison passed on August 5 at the age of 88. She was an accomplished author, editor and professor as well as the first Black woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993. She wrote 11 novels, many essays, and several children’s books.
Morrison illuminated a path for black writers across the nation and her works were important to those of us looking for writing about our histories and ourselves. Much of her stories, though tragic and brutal, were honest, grounded, and filled with love from beginning to end. Her commitment to craft and vision is what made her a force in the American literary tradition and she opened the door for a generation of Black American writers that were at the fringes of American literature. Her rhythms and many layered plots are what made her voice so incredibly distinct and powerful. She never failed to remind readers that history still has a tight grip on lives of Black Americans. Her characters like Pecola Breedlove in The Bluest Eye and Sethe in Beloved were narrative tools that helped bridged the understanding of the intersections of racism, sexism and classism. All of which she handled with grace contended with through her warm, rhythmic prose. Morrison seemed to always be trying something new and refining her rare talents and it goes without saying that without her work, there would be fewer portals to understanding black life as it stands in America.
If you would like to read Toni Morrison’s works or learn about her life and writing, please visit our guide: guides.ucf.edu/reading-lists/tonimorrison