Rediscover: Toni MorrisonToni Morrison, the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, died on August 5 at age 88. Her many other honors include the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Beloved, the National Book Foundation's Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 1996 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. From 1967 to 1983, Morrison worked as an editor at Random House--the first female African American editor in company history--where she published Gayl Jones, Toni Cade Bambara, Henry Dumas, Huey P. Newton, Muhammad Ali and Angela Davis. She was also a longtime Princeton professor. In the citation for her Nobel Prize, the Swedish Academy called Morrison an author "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality."
Morrison's first novel, The Bluest Eye, was released by Holt, Rinehart & Winston in 1970. Knopf published her other novels, including Sula (1973), Song of Solomon (1977), Tar Baby (1981), Jazz (1992), A Mercy (2008) and God Help the Child (2015). She also co-wrote the children's books Please, Louise (2014), Peeny Butter Fudge (2009) and The Book of Mean People (2002) with her son Slade. Morrison's nonfiction works include Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1992) and What Moves at the Margin: Selected Nonfiction (2008). In October, the University of Virginia Press will release Morrison's Goodness and the Literary Imagination, featuring her 2012 Ingersoll Lecture at Harvard University ($27.95, 9780813943626).