NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Toni Morrison, the beloved author, and Nobel laureate, whose work explored the landscape of black identity in America, died on Monday in New York. She was 88.
Her death was announced by her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf via social media. In a statement to the New York Times, the publisher said she died of complications of pneumonia at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.
Over the course of her career, Morrison was the author of 11 novels, including what many consider to be her signature works “Song of Solomon,” which received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977, and “Beloved,” for which Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988.
Her luminous prose brought to life vivid illustrations of the black experience in America, interwoven with elements of myth an superstition that saw her work likened to the magical realist writers such as Gabriel García Márquez.
Morrison found success as an author late in life, penning her first published novel at 39. A native of Ohio, she Howard University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in English, and then Cornell, where she earned a master’s in English.
After graduating, she taught English at Texas Southern University, before returning to Howard as a faculty member.
In 1963, she was hired as a book editor at Random House, where she worked for twenty years, editing the works of others while working on her first novel “The Bluest Eyes” in her spare time.
She went on to write eleven novels as well as six children’s books with her son, Slade Morrison, and numerous non-fiction essay collections.
She married Jamaican architect Harold Morrison in 1958 and gave birth to two sons — Harold Ford in 1961 and Slade Kevin in 1964. However, she and her husband divorced six years later.
Over the course of her career, she was recognized with numerous honors, including a Presidential Medal of Freedom; the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction; the National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters; the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; and a Nobel Prize for Literature.