Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, turns 80 today. She is one of my favorite authors. Really, her books are essential reading whether one enjoys them or not. I think her best book is Beloved. Though I suspect that my view is influenced by numerous rereadings. I have a sneaking suspicion that Song of Solomon could beat Beloved to the top spot if I gave it the same treatment. All her books mark defining moments in my life. Like other seminal women writers of the African Diaspora, Toni Morrison’s work has influenced me greatly.
”In the beginning, people would say, ‘Do you regard yourself as a black writer, or as a writer?’ and they also used the word woman with it – woman writer. So at first I was glib and said I’m a black woman writer, because I understood that they were trying to suggest that I was ‘bigger’ than that, or better than that. I simply refused to accept their view of bigger and better. I really think the range of emotions and perceptions I have had access to as a black person and as a female person are greater than those of people who are neither. I really do. So it seems to me that my world did not shrink because I was a black female writer. It just got bigger.” (New York Times)
This quote also captures how I see the reader in me. With much gratitude and appreciation,