“The practice of writing makes demands on me that nothing else does….Delving into literature is neither escape nor a surefire comfort. It has been a constant, sometimes violent, always provocative engagement with the contemporary world, the issues of the society we live in.”
—Toni Morrison, “Grendel and His Mother”
The passing of Nobel laureate, Toni Morrison, in August 2019, has been felt as an irreplaceable loss by many who were inspired by the power and beauty of her writing, her advocacy for Black writers, and the incisive and uncompromising commentary on race in the United States in her novels, essays and interviews. Morrison’s work features in courses and scholarship at universities and colleges around the nation, including UC San Diego. This exhibit celebrates Morrison’s life and work and pays tribute to her legacy.
In her eulogy for James Baldwin, Toni Morrison describes the three gifts he gave her:
- “a language to dwell in—a gift so perfect it seems my own invention”
- “the courage to live life in its belly as well as beyond its edges, to see and say what is”
- “tenderness, a vulnerability, that asked everything, expected everything, and…provided us with the ways and means to deliver.”
These are gifts Toni Morrison shared bountifully. Author, editor, and teacher, Morrison’s language, courage, and tenderness abide in the novels and writing she has left us, the writers and artists whose works she nurtured and championed, and the encouragement and inspiration she gave to all who carry on her legacy now and forever.
Visit the exhibit to savor Toni Morrison’s words, and to learn more about her many critically acclaimed works and her role as an editor of iconic African American literature.
Nikki Kolupailo, (858) 534-0667, firstname.lastname@example.org