"I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it."
And so began Toni Morrison's writing career. Decades later, she is one of the most renowned authors of our time, honored with awards like the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the Presidental Medal of Freedom (I'll stop there).
Today is Toni Morrison's birthday—she's 83—and as I scrolled through my news and social media feeds this morning, I was reminded of just how incredible she is. She is a best-selling author, a professor, an editor, a mother, an activist...to me, she is legendary. She is regal.
I was first introduced to Morrison's in 7th grade English class. We read Beloved and it was the first book that made me want to think critically about literature. I still have my original copy and it is covered in highlighter marks, dogearred nearly every other page, and scribbed with questions and exclamations. Her writing voice is so visceral, her characters such beautiful and complicated creatures, and her stories are some of the most important in literary history. The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved, A Mercy, Home. These are the books that occupy prime real estate on my bookshelf. When I was in college, I had the privledge of meeitng Toni Morrison, and I told her this very thing. She gave me a little nod and a smile and I felt like I had just been baptized by the Pope.
So, in honor of her birthday, here are a few of my favorite links celebrating this great woman:
Toni Morrison: in Conversation with Junot Diaz (New York Public Library)
"Toni Morrison, The Art of Fiction No. 134" (The Paris Review)
"Who is the Author of Toni Morrison?" (New York Magazine)
Morrison is also a children's book author (I did not know this!)
What's your favorite Toni Morrison book?