Toni Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio in 1931, the second of four children in a working-class family. Storytelling was part of family life. “As a child I had to retell those stories to other adults,” she said. These tales “were pretty much horror stories about life as an African-American. They were powerful and highly metaphorical but that’s really what was at the bottom of it.”
Morrison’s first novel The Bluest Eye appeared in 1970, and in a long career that has produced such works as Beloved, Song of Solomon and Tar Baby, she consistently chronicled and investigated the African-American experience. She received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 - the first African-American woman to do so.
In this interview, she told Razia Iqbal that as a young writer she felt literature – even ‘black literature’ –was always addressed to a white audience. “And I was determined not to do that,” she said.
Toni Morrison has died, at the age of 88. Read her obituary on BBC News here.
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