In Brief

Tributes paid to ‘giant’ author Toni Morrison

Nobel-winning novelist has died at the age of 88

The Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison has died at the age of 88. Her family confirmed “with profound sadness” that Morrison had died “following a short illness”.

The author of 11 novels, Morrison published her first, The Bluest Eye, in 1970. Her 1987 book Beloved told the story of a runaway female slave and was made into a film starring Oprah Winfrey in 1998. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.

Announcing the death of “our adored mother and grandmother”, Morrison’s family said: “Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well lived life. While we would like to thank everyone who knew and loved her, personally or through her work, for their support at this difficult time, we ask for privacy as we mourn this loss to our family.”

Figures from the worlds of politics and the arts have paid tribute. Posting a photograph of himself with Morrison, Barack Obama wrote: “Toni Morrison was a national treasure, as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page.

“Her writing was a beautiful, meaningful challenge to our conscience and our moral imagination. What a gift to breathe the same air as her, if only for a while.”

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tweeted: “Today we lost an American legend. May she rest in peace”, while Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar wrote: “Holding all those touched by Toni Morrison in my heart today”.

Her longstanding editor, Robert Gottlieb from Knopf publishers, said: “She was a great woman and a great writer, and I don't know which I will miss more.”

Knopf’s chair, Sonny Mehta, added: “I can think of few writers in American letters who wrote with more humanity or with more love for language than Toni.”

The novelist Margaret Atwood described Morrison as a “giant of her times and ours”. She added: “That her strong voice will now be missing in this age of the renewed targeting of minorities in the United States and elsewhere is a tragedy for the rest of us.”

Born in an Ohio town with the name Chloe Ardelia Wofford, on 18 February 1931, she was the second of four children. She said she was “unimpressed” by the white children in her community.

She attended Howard University in Washington DC, where she met and married Harold Morrison, whom she later divorced in 1964.

Recommended

Trip of the week: a bus journey through Switzerland’s high passes
Meiringen, Switzerland
The big trip

Trip of the week: a bus journey through Switzerland’s high passes

Recipe: spiced yoghurt, cauliflower and mango
Spiced yoghurt, cauliflower and mango
On the menu

Recipe: spiced yoghurt, cauliflower and mango

If money’s no object: luxury travel bucket list
Scenic Eclipse
The wish list

If money’s no object: luxury travel bucket list

St Nicolas Bay Resort: upscale sophistication at its finest
St Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas
The big trip

St Nicolas Bay Resort: upscale sophistication at its finest

Popular articles

Will China invade Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

Will China invade Taiwan?

Is World War Three on the cards?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Is World War Three on the cards?

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022
Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll in Murder in Provence
In Depth

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022

The Week Footer Banner