Author, editor, and essayist Toni Morrison has passed away.
According to Vulture, Morrison died at the age of 88 on Monday night. The cause of death is not yet known.
Born Chloe Ardella Wofford, Morrison wrote 11 novels during her career, most notably 1987’s Beloved. The book earned her the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988, and was a finalist for the 1987 National Book Award. The novel was also adapted into a movie in 1998 that starred Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover.
In 2012, President Barack Obama presented Morrison with the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the year before that, Maya Angeloud had been presented with the award).
“Toni Morrison’s prose brings us that kind of moral and emotional intensity that few writers ever attempt. From Song of Solomon to Beloved, Toni reaches us deeply, using a tone that is lyrical, precise, distinct, and inclusive. She believes that language ‘arcs toward the place where meaning might lie,'” Obama said of Morrison during the Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony. “The rest of us are lucky to be following along for the ride.”
The last book she wrote was 2015’s God Help the Child, which was “about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult,” according to a press release about the book at the time.
Following Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States in 2016, Morrison wrote an essay for the New Yorker titled “Mourning For Whiteness,” where she argued that white Americans are so afraid of losing privileges they have because of their whiteness, that they voted for Trump in order to keep the idea of white supremacy alive.
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