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Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison is the Robert F. Goheen Professor Emeritus in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University. She has degrees from Howard and Cornell universities. She was appointed the Robert F. Goheen Professor at Princeton University, spring 1989, a post she held until 2006. Among the universities where she has held teaching posts are Yale, Bard College and Rutgers. The New York State Board of Regents appointed her to the Albert Schweitzer Chair in the Humanities at the State University of New York at Albany in 1984. In 1988 she was the Obert C. Tanner Lecturer at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the Jeannette K. Watson Distinguished Professor at Syracuse University. In 1990 she delivered the Clark Lectures at Trinity College, Cambridge, and the Massey Lectures at Harvard University. In 1994 she held the International Cordorcet Chair at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and College de France. Eight major novels, The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, Jazz, Paradise and Love, have received extensive critical acclaim. She received the National Book Critics Award in 1978 for Song of Solomon and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Beloved. Both novels were chosen as the main selections for the Book of the Month Club in 1977 and 1987, respectively.

In 2006, Beloved was chosen by the New York Times Book Review as the best work of American fiction published in the last quarter century. Toni Morrison co-authored the children's books Remember, the Who's Got Game? series, The Book of Mean People and The Big Box. Her books of essays include Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination; the edited collection Race-ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality and the co-edited collection Birth of a Nation'hood: Gaze, Script, and Spectacle in the O.J. Simpson Case. Morrison's lyrics "Honey and Rue," commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Kathleen Battle with music by Andre Previn, premiered January 1992; "Four Songs" with music by Mr. Previn, premiered by Sylvia McNair at Carnegie Hall, November 1994; "Sweet Talk" written for Jessye Norman with music by Richard Danielpour, premiered April 1997; "Woman.Life.Song" commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Jessye Norman with music by Judith Weir, premiered April 2000; the opera Margaret Garner with music by Richard Danielpour, premiered in May 2005. Morrison has received honorary degrees from Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Sarah Lawrence, Oberlin, Dartmouth, Yale, Georgetown, Columbia, Brown, University of Michigan, Ecole Normale Supérieure and Université Paris 7-Denis Diderot. She was also the first recipient of the Washington College Literary Award in 1987 and was a New York State Governor's Arts Awardee in 1986. Other prestigious awards include the 2000 National Humanities Medal; the 2000 Library of Congress Bicentennial Living Legend Award; the 1996 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters; Rhegium Julii Prize for Literature 1994; the Condorcet Medal, Paris 1994; Pearl Buck Award 1994; Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, Paris 1993; the Modern Language Association of America Commonwealth Award in Literature 1989; Sara Lee Corporation Front Runner Award in the Arts 1989; Anisfield Wolf Book Award in Race Relations 1988; the Cleveland Arts Prize in Literature 1978; and the Distinguished Writer Award of 1978 from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was a senior editor at Random House for 20 years. Toni Morrison is a trustee of the New York Public Library, and a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the North American Network of Cities of Asylum and the Author's Guild, where she served on the guild council and as foundation treasurer. She served on the National Council of the Arts for six years and is a member of the Africa Watch and Helsinki Watch Committees on Human Rights. In 1993, Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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