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Toni Morrison, 1931-2019

Toni Morrison passed away Monday, August 5, and the literary world lost one of its greats. There's not much to add that hasn't been said already in the countless tributes to Morrison today, but her work touched many lives, FRVPLD staff and patrons amongst them. 

From her early days as an editor, Morrison used her position to empower others and help them tell their stories, something she continued to do over the course of her career. Her own work is known for centering on the lives of African American characters and a frank portrayal of race, often describing horrific events in the most beautiful and poetic ways.

Morrison’s Beloved won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 and she became the first black woman of any nationality to be awarded the Nobel Prize in 1993. Scores of other honors and awards came her way, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.    

A masterful storyteller and lover of language, she will be missed by literature lovers everywhere, but her words live on.

 “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”- Morrison’s Nobel Prize speech, which is worth a listen here.