The doyenne of American fiction, letters, and culture, writer of several prize-winning novels, passed away after a brief illness.

State of Transition

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK — A deep and vast diaspora of readers, writers, publishers and students of literature and culture mourn the passing of Toni Morrison, American novelist, thinker and Nobel laureate, at 88. Penguin Random House, her publisher, made the official announcement the morning after her death at Montefiore Medical Center, in New York City. Through the publisher, her family issued the statement below:

“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. She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother, and aunt who reveled in being with her family and friends.


“The consummate writer who treasured the written word, whether her own, her students or others, she read voraciously and was most at home when writing. Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well lived life.


“While we would like to thank everyone who knew and loved her, personally or through her work, for their support at this difficult time, we ask for privacy as we mourn this loss to our family. We will share information in the near future about how we will celebrate Toni’s incredible life.”


Morrison was, indisputably, the foremost chronicler and examiner of African-American life and experience and a seminal influence on twentieth-century American literature and culture. Her 11 novels — winners of Nobel and Pulitzer prizes, among others — expanded notions of what fiction could do and how audiences could read, feel, think, and write in response. Her interviews, essays, and lectures have since her debut as a writer given expressive and prescient language for describing and analyzing the lives, politics, and cultural shifts concerning black, female, and American communities — broadly defined — and thus been cited frequently and widely. What she leaves behind in her works and teachings is now described, by many, as a legacy.

For these and many other reasons, her passing has been deeply mourned, closely followed, and celebrated by national and global media, publishing houses, bookstores, cultural and educational institutions, and public figures in academia, politics, and the arts. We will try our best to keep you updated below on the outpouring.

Body of Work



6August 2019: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK — Forthcoming


6August 2019: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK — Forthcoming…

Sources & Further

For this news series’s sources, and further reading on the issues raised by the life and passing of Toni Morrison,…


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