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News and Media

Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison to Speak at Oberlin

Feb. 10, 2012

Toni Morrison Convocation Talk
Toni Morrison delivers a convocation speech in 2009.
John Seyfried

OBERLIN, OH—Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison will meet with students and faculty and give a public talk when she visits campus on Wednesday, March 14.

In “An Evening with Toni Morrison,” the author of The Bluest Eye and Beloved will deliver a private reading from her forthcoming novel, Home, at 7:30 p.m. in Finney Chapel. A question and answer session will follow the talk.

All tickets are sold out.

Morrison, who was born and raised in nearby Lorain, Ohio, last visited campus in 2009, when she delivered a convocation address to a capacity crowd in Finney. During her 2009 visit, Morrison dedicated a “Bench by the Road” to the memory of the enslaved men, women, and children who followed the Underground Railroad to Oberlin. The Oberlin installation was one of 10 planned for sites around the country as part of the Bench by the Road project created by the Toni Morrison Society and inspired by the author's 1989 statement concerning the commemoration of slaves and their history: “There is no suitable memorial, or plaque, or wreath or wall, or park or skyscraper lobby. There's no 300-foot tower, there's no small bench by the road.”

Morrison’s nine major novels have received extensive critical acclaim. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, is set in Lorain. She received the National Book Critics Award in 1978 for Song of Solomon and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Beloved. In 2006, Beloved was chosen by the The New York Times Book Review as the best work of American fiction published in the last quarter-century.

Morrison’s most recent novel, A Mercy, was published in 2008. The Washington Post Book World called it a “spellbinding companion to Beloved, her 1987 tour de force that transformed our understanding of slavery.” She was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993.

Morrison studied humanities at Howard and Cornell Universities, followed by an academic career at Texas Southern University, Howard University, and Yale, and Princeton, where she is currently the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emerita.

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