Toni Morrison, a renowned author, Nobel laureate, and the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emerita, at the University, has died at the age of 88.
“It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our adored mother and grandmother, Toni Morrison, passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends,” read a statement released by the Morrison family. “Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well lived life.”
The first African American woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Morrison is the author of 11 novels in addition to children’s books and essay collections.
Morrison’s celebrated novels include “The Bluest Eye” (1970), “Song of Solomon (1977), “Beloved” (1987), among others. Morrison’s most recent book, “The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations,” was published in February of 2019.
In addition to her 1993 Nobel Prize, Morrison’s other honors include the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, the National Humanities Medal in 2000, and a 1988 Pulitzer Prize for her novel “Beloved.”
“Toni Morrison’s brilliant vision, inspired creativity, and unique voice have reshaped American culture and the world’s literary tradition. Her magnificent works will continue to light a path for generations of readers and authors,” wrote University spokesperson Ben Chang in an email to the Daily Princetonian.
Morrison received a bachelor’s degree in English from Howard University in 1953 and a master’s degree in American literature from Cornell University in 1955. Morrison joined the Princeton faculty in 1989 and transferred to emerita status in 2006.
“Through her scholarly leadership in creative writing and African American studies, and through her mentorship of students and her innovative teaching, she has inscribed her name permanently and beautifully upon the tapestry of Princeton’s campus and history. We are fortunate that this marvelous writer made Princeton her home, and we will miss her dearly,” Chang added.
In her award, the Swedish Academy described Morrison as “who, in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.”
This story is breaking and will be updated with additional information as it becomes available.