On Tuesday morning (Aug. 6), it was announced that literary pioneer Toni Morrison died at age 88 on Monday evening (Aug. 5) at New York’s Montefiore Medical Center. According to the Associated Press, The Bluest Eye author’s publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, confirmed Morrison’s passing.
Morrison’s novels and other literary works garnered the famed author a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988 and she made history as the first black woman to attain the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. Her highly-decorated resume includes the trilogy of Beloved (1988, which garnered Morrison the Pulitzer Prize), Jazz (1992) and Paradise (1997). In 2011, Morrison received an honorary doctorate’s degree from Rutgers University—where she taught English in the early 1980s—before her last novel debuted in 2015, titled God Help the Child.
A recent documentary titled The Pieces I Am debuted in late-June, detailing the many facets of the Song of Solomon writer’s life and career. In an interview with The Root, director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders said Morrison’s interviews had the power to stop everyone in their tracks and draw them into what she was saying. “Toni not only is an incredible storyteller, but she has a beautiful voice, a very seductive voice,” Greenfield-Sanders said. “So when the interviews are going on, the whole crew is just drawn in. It was wonderful. You didn’t want it to end.”
The cause of death is still unknown.
This post will be updated as developments are made public.