February 1931-August 2019
Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Toni Morrison sadly died last month at the age of 88.
She was the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, with the Swedish Academy describing her novels as “characterised by visionary force and poetic import”, through which she “gives life to an essential aspect of American reality”.
Morrison, who was born Chloe Ardelia Wofford on February 18, 1931 in Ohio, USA, won a plethora of literary accolades and honorary degrees and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
She penned 11 novels that are known for their epic themes, beautiful language and richly detailed characters who were central to their narratives, as well as children’s books and essay collections during her many decades long career.
Morrison’s highly celebrated books include the 1977 novel Song of Solomon, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award the same year, and Beloved which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988.
Other well-known novels include her first book The Bluest Eye published in 1970, which was followed by Sula in 1973 and more recently historical novel Jazz published in 1992.
However, it was the Song of Solomon, seven years after her writing debut that brought the author national attention.
Morrison was put in the spotlight again in 1998 when the critically acclaimed Beloved, based on the true story of a runaway slave, was adapted to the silver screen starring Oprah Winfrey.