Remembering Toni Morrison: 5 powerful quotes from the Nobel Prize-winning author

The late U.S. author Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison The late U.S. author Toni Morrison
Image: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison died on Monday night at the age of 88.

TimesLIVE reported that the cause of her death was due to complications from pneumonia.

The novelist had a decades-long career that included the books The Bluest Eye, Beloved, and Song of Solomon.

In 1993, she became the first black writer to win the Nobel Prize, and in 2012 President Barack Obama awarded her a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In honour of Morrison's life, here are five of her best quotes:

Meaning of life

"We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives." - Morrison's 1993 Nobel Lecture 

Black and white

"No one ever talks about the moment you found that you were white. Or the moment you found out you were black. That's a profound revelation. The minute you find that out, something happens. You have to renegotiate everything." - 1998 interview with Salon

Defining

"Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined." - Quote from Morrison's 1987 novel Beloved

Being a black woman writer

"I can accept the labels because being a black woman writer is not a shallow place but a rich place to write from. It doesn't limit my imagination; it expands it. It's richer than being a white male writer because I know more and I've experienced more." - 2003 interview with the New Yorker

Free

"I tell my students 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.'" - 2003 interview with Oprah Magazine


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