Toni Morrison, the groundbreaking author of Beloved and The Bluest Eye, died in New York City on Monday at the age of 88. The news was announced by her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf and confirmed by the New York Times. Morrison was one of the most important voices of the 20th and 21st centuries, a Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel Laureate whose work explored African American identity, family, and the nature of art itself over her many-decade career. Her latest collection of essays and speeches, The Source of Self-Regard, was published in February.
Shortly after Morrison's passing was made public, the literary community, politicians, celebrities, and academics took to social media to celebrate the life of the extraordinary author. Below are a selection of those reactions, and we'll update as more information becomes available:
When I was a little girl, I read everything and all the time. The Bluest Eye was the first time I saw a girl that looked like me as the main character of a book. I remember being so surprised by that.August 6, 2019
Toni Morrison taught me that a black girl could be a whole world and for that I will always be endlessly grateful.August 6, 2019
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. pic.twitter.com/JG7Jgu4p9tAugust 6, 2019
Toni Morrison 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/nVjs88kTegAugust 6, 2019
I'm very sad. Toni Morrison is the greatest Ohioan who ever lived. No one was more important to my understanding of the fact that I could come from where I came from and write what I wanted to. I'm thankful for all she chose to share with us. I'm so sad about this news.August 6, 2019
RIP Toni Morrison. This is a devastating loss to the world of words, to our understanding of power and it’s reach, to the cultivation of empathy, to rich, nuanced, elegant storytelling. Her work was a gift to every one who had the pleasure of reading her.August 6, 2019
Toni Morrison’s eulogy for James Baldwin is one of the most beautiful pieces of language ever put on paper. And everything she said about him applies to her. She gifted us with language, with courage, and with tenderness. She crowned us. https://t.co/qPTkf2JEGZAugust 6, 2019
George M. Johnson
“If you can only be tall because someone else is on their knees, then you have a serious problem. And white people have a very very serious problem” - Toni Morrison pic.twitter.com/3MTn8MoelGAugust 6, 2019
A photo posted by on
"If you can only be tall because somebody is on their knees, then you have a serious problem. And my feeling is white people have a very, very serious problem, and they should start thinking about what they can do about it.” Rest In Power Toni Morrisonpic.twitter.com/KD0mukv4x0August 6, 2019
Toni Morrison, the greatest writer in the history of this nation. And she wrote to and for US.August 6, 2019
Oh, no. So deeply saddened. Thank you for everything, Ms. Morrison. https://t.co/huR38XtyXkAugust 6, 2019
Reports that Toni Morrison has died. One of the few indisputably great contemporary American novelists. The couple of times I met her she exuded charisma. People say of queenly women that they ‘swept into a room’. She had some serious sweep. RIPAugust 6, 2019
We'll continue to add to this as more authors share their thoughts.
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Cady Drell is a writer, editor, researcher and pet enthusiast from Brooklyn.
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