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The Nobel Prize in Literature 1993
Toni Morrison - Random House Website
The Toni Morrison Society
Conversation: Toni Morrison - This link to the PBS website provides both a transcript of the March 9, 1998, interview with Toni Morrison conducted by Elizabeth Farnsworth on the PBS NEWSHOUR and a link to a sound file of the interview.
Conversation: Toni Morrison - This link to the PBS website provides a transcript of the May 29, 2012 interview with Toni Morrison conducted by Judy Woodruff. A 10-minute video showing the interview is also available.
Audio Interview with Toni Morrison - Toni Morrison talks about her early career, why every writer needs an editor, why she cannot write in anger, and the tracking of a contemporary theme in her novel, Beloved, in this 1987 interview with Don Swaim.
Lizzie's Guide to Lorain - People - Photos and information about Toni Morrison's school years in Lorain.
Margaret Garner: the Opera - Visit the New York City Opera’s website to view a YouTube interview with Toni Morrison and composer, Richard Danielpour. The opera is based on the true events that inspired Morrison’s novel, Beloved.
The Toni Morrison Room at the Lorain Public Library was dedicated on January 22, 1995.
The poet, Sonia Sanchez, joined family and friends of Toni Morrison that day to celebrate the occasion. Sonia wrote a special poem in Toni's honor and read it that day.
Toni Morrison addressed the gathering with these words:
“I think that it's proper that I should say thank you. And I didn't want to say much more because it was important to me that everything that happened this afternoon be focused on the consequence of this event - which was the Reading Room. I am grateful to Sonia for coming with me and for delivering this revised, and I say improved, poem. She's in a class by herself.
I also want to thank Tiara for your work, your efforts and your compliment to me. And if I've been in any way useful to your imagination I'm grateful for that too.
I'm happy that so many members of my family are here and who inconvenienced themselves in order to come. And I want to thank all of you because of your enthusiasm and the commitment with which so many of you undertook to complete this project, which is very dear to me. In talking about a number of things that might have been done in order to signal an accomplishment of a native citizen of this town, this felt fine to me. It felt so much better than all of the other possibilities for a number of reasons.
One - not this building - but the Lorain Public Library was so important in my life. And the reason it was important was not only because much of the time I worked there and made a little change. But basically because it was the place I spent long, long hours reading and it was a place where a group of women were very careful with avid reading children.
I had a letter just before I came, yesterday actually, from Marion King, for whom my sister worked for so many years; Mrs. Books as her assistant at the Lorain Public Library. She was describing to me that it was not really fun to be 92. And that she could not - she could go back and forth to her meals on a cane - but she really could not come. And Jean Lawless and Miss Ambrose and a number of people who were as important as the faculty. They selected books, they talked about books, they taught us love and they liked it, they loved it when we would read. They were not hostile. So it was personally important to me.
And, also I know that the obligations of more and more libraries are outreach programs and so on. And I wanted there to be one place where, if you happened to be in the neighborhood, you could come in and sit down on what I hoped would be some comfortable chairs, in a quiet room and just spend 45 minutes or an hour or two with a book. Not for entertainment, not even for rest, because the point is that in them lies real knowledge - real knowledge.
At any rate, I can't wait. They wouldn't let me see it unless I actually went to the process of the formalities of cutting the ribbon.
But, again, I'm grateful to my family, to my friends, to my colleagues, co-writers, but especially my strongest feeling is for the citizens of this town.
One more thing, I have to tell you. I was three months in Paris and Italy this fall. And I ended up in Milan with somebody, who works for the consulate there or something, who said he was also from Lorain. And I said, "Where did you go to school?" And he said, "St. Mary's."
There were two high schools when I was there. I want to tell you that he and I had a lot of trouble - a lot of trouble - trying to explain to these Europeans what this town was like. They could not believe that there was any socializing between the races. They couldn't believe that. That you could live in a neighborhood where next door to you were all these kinds of people. They couldn't believe the languages that were spoken in this town. They couldn't believe it all, they kept saying. I said, "That's nice for you to be here, because you know I really have never been able successfully to describe what that experience was like."
So, when I came into this room and looked around, I thought, "Now this is what I need. I need a picture to take with me so that when I go to these outposts of civilization I can describe to them what this community looks like.