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October 10, 1993
The first American author taken seriously abroad on literary merit was an African young woman who had been brought to Boston a few years earlier and had mastered English as a second language while a slave. Phillis Wheatley's "Poems on Various Subjects" was the literary sensation of London in 1773. Its success proved not only that someone female from Africa could excel within the rigid forms then fashionable in English poetry but that someone educated in America could.Race and gender and emotion hardly showed in Phillis Wheatley's disciplined verse.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun | March 9, 2013
Taiye Selasi's debut novel has been in publication for less than a week. But even before a single copy was sold, the glamorous 33-year-old was being hailed as the newest star of the literary world. Selasi's publisher, The Penguin Group, is promoting "Ghana Must Go" big-time. Penguin describes the family saga as "one of the most eagerly anticipated debut novels of the year. " Because of her book's multicultural tapestry, Selasi has been compared to such literary It Girls as Zadie Smith and Jhumpa Lahiri.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Jean Thompson and Jean Thompson,SUN STAFF | October 19, 2003
Love, by Toni Morrison. Knopf. 208 pages. $23.95. The Cosey women are like sea glass, hardened by their emotional shipwrecks and fused in their storm-tossed, mutual infatuation with one charismatic man. Thus is their fate sealed in Love, Toni Morrison's new novel, set in the faded glory of an ocean-side resort for the black upper-class, a remnant of segregated America. A list of the main characters would suggest formula romance: There's the patriarch, so revered in the community that his amorality is tolerated; his kleptomaniac daughter-in-law; his insecure bride and his granddaughter, best friends who become bitter rivals; a con artist and her teen lover; a mistress whose presence haunts the beach.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Victoria A. Brownworth and Victoria A. Brownworth,Special to The Baltimore Sun | November 30, 2008
A Mercy By Toni Morrison Knopf / 176 pages / $23.95 There are good writers and then there are great, transformative, knock-your-literary-socks-off writers. Toni Morrison is the latter. The citation that accompanied Morrison's 1993 Nobel Prize for literature reads "Toni Morrison, who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality." A Mercy tells of just such an aspect. Morrison has often written of America's disturbing slavery-tainted past, as she did in her best-known book, Beloved, published in 1987.
NEWS
By Richard Eder and Richard Eder,Los Angeles Times | April 26, 1992
JAZZ.Toni Morrison.Knopf.226 pages. $21. "Jazz" is a half-waking dream on a lumpy corncob mattress. Its voices shift, almost in a single sentence, from down-to-earth to intensely poetical. It alternately asserts, and transforms what it asserts. Each shift -- each page, virtually -- begins with a tangible jolt of discovery, and dissolves, making way for the next shift and dissolution. It can be difficult to follow, yet immensely exhilarating. We raft down Toni Morrison's white water, get mired when it sinks into passages that run too deep underground and float off when it breaks into the open.
FEATURES
By Tim Warren and Tim Warren,Book Editor | May 3, 1992
New York-- Toni Morrison makes you believe in the story, and the power of the story, but most of all you believe in her story. You can feel it right away in the way she talks. She has a low voice that can sound downright seductive as it sweeps along a sentence. She has the cadences down just right, the inflections. Just as in her writings, she strings along thoughts and words, one after the other -- building on them to an often unexpected but powerful conclusion. All you need is a campfire and a group of listeners reduced to ineffectual silence.
FEATURES
By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | October 16, 1998
"Beloved" is the movie that couldn't be made, and was, about people who couldn't go on, and did.Admirers of "Beloved," Toni Morrison's novel about a former slave trying to rebuild her life during Reconstruction, were understandably skeptical when they heard that the Pulitzer Prize-winning book was being adapted for the screen. How could a movie ever begin to capture the book's complex structure, its poetic language, its interiority and rhythm?Director Jonathan Demme has solved that problem by narrowing his focus while hewing strictly to the novel's visual details and emotional tone.
FEATURES
By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | October 11, 1998
"Tell me your diamonds."This is one of many memorable lines in "Beloved," the film adapted from Toni Morrison's book that opens in theaters on Friday. The title character, a strange, otherworldly girl, is asking her mother, played by Oprah Winfrey, to tell the story of a long-lost pair of shiny crystal earrings.But when Winfrey - who has spent 10 years bringing Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel to the screen - recently met with the press in Chicago, she was not wearing crystal. She was wearing very real, very big diamonds that dangled voluptuously from her ears.
ENTERTAINMENT
By A Reader's Guide to Twentieth Century Writers | January 24, 1999
Toni MorrisonBorn as Chloe Anthony Wofford in Ohio in 1931, both Morrison's maternal and paternal family were sharcroppers.When Morrison was 2 years old her family's landlord wanted to raise the rent and so set fire to their apartment while they were still in it.She later graduated from Howard University and later returned to teach English.Morrison wrote "Beloved," a book based on a true story about a woman who kills one of her children to protect it from slavery. The book has recently been released as a motion picture.
NEWS
By Gregory Kane | July 9, 2005
AS BIRTHDAY presents go, the one Tonya Wells got when she turned the big two-four probably couldn't have been better than this. Today Wells is at Northern Kentucky University, where she'll be through July 17 attending the Toni Morrison Writing Workshop. And Wells loves Toni Morrison's novels. "I've loved Toni Morrison since high school," Wells said. What better place for a lover of Toni Morrison to be than at a workshop named for the writer? And what better time for Wells to attend than one day after her birthday?
NEWS
By BRIAN GILMORE | February 16, 2006
Novelist Toni Morrison turns 75 on Saturday, and the nation - as well as the world - ought to take note of this American literary giant. Perhaps no other U.S. writer has explored the issues of racism, sexism and class in American society so honestly and so beautifully as this Nobel laureate has. As The New York Review of Books declared years ago, Toni Morrison is "the closest thing the country has to a national writer." Ms. Morrison was born Chloe Anthony Wofford in Lorain, Ohio, near Cleveland, in 1931.
NEWS
By Gregory Kane | July 9, 2005
AS BIRTHDAY presents go, the one Tonya Wells got when she turned the big two-four probably couldn't have been better than this. Today Wells is at Northern Kentucky University, where she'll be through July 17 attending the Toni Morrison Writing Workshop. And Wells loves Toni Morrison's novels. "I've loved Toni Morrison since high school," Wells said. What better place for a lover of Toni Morrison to be than at a workshop named for the writer? And what better time for Wells to attend than one day after her birthday?
ENTERTAINMENT
By Jean Thompson and Jean Thompson,SUN STAFF | October 19, 2003
Love, by Toni Morrison. Knopf. 208 pages. $23.95. The Cosey women are like sea glass, hardened by their emotional shipwrecks and fused in their storm-tossed, mutual infatuation with one charismatic man. Thus is their fate sealed in Love, Toni Morrison's new novel, set in the faded glory of an ocean-side resort for the black upper-class, a remnant of segregated America. A list of the main characters would suggest formula romance: There's the patriarch, so revered in the community that his amorality is tolerated; his kleptomaniac daughter-in-law; his insecure bride and his granddaughter, best friends who become bitter rivals; a con artist and her teen lover; a mistress whose presence haunts the beach.
NEWS
February 14, 2002
An interview with Levern McElveen of The Freedom Readers book club. What is the makeup of your group? We're all friends. There are two other men in addition to myself. We have about nine members right now ... The average age, I would say, is probably around 40. What book are members reading this month? We're reading Van Whitfield's Guys in Suits. It's a story of four male friends bonding, and the catch-all is one of the friends comes down with prostate cancer, and the book then goes off into how the other friends handle that.
ENTERTAINMENT
By JEAN THOMPSON and JEAN THOMPSON,SUN STAFF | July 25, 1999
African-American storytellers are finally having their say. More books by, for and about black people are available now than during any past decade of my life. Fantasy. Christian fiction. Self-help. History. Potboilers. Adventure travel. Memoirs. Science. Love, and -- oh -- careless lovemaking, in all its brown-skinned beauty.This news is of interest not just to African-American readers and dollar-hungry booksellers and publishers, but to thoughtful readers of every stripe who explore culture through the written word.
ENTERTAINMENT
By A Reader's Guide to Twentieth Century Writers | January 24, 1999
Toni MorrisonBorn as Chloe Anthony Wofford in Ohio in 1931, both Morrison's maternal and paternal family were sharcroppers.When Morrison was 2 years old her family's landlord wanted to raise the rent and so set fire to their apartment while they were still in it.She later graduated from Howard University and later returned to teach English.Morrison wrote "Beloved," a book based on a true story about a woman who kills one of her children to protect it from slavery. The book has recently been released as a motion picture.
NEWS
By The Literary Almanac | January 11, 1998
Toni Morrison (1931-) was born Chloe Anthony Wafford in an Ohio steel mill town, the daughter of of black share-croppers who had migrated from the South. She read voraciously as a child, and in 1949 attended Howard University, where she later taught English. She began writing, after the breakup of her marriage, which resulted in her first book, "The Bluest Eye," in 1970. She eventually moved herself and her two sons to New York, where she wrote fiction and became a senior editor at Random House.
NEWS
By Glenn McNatt and Glenn McNatt,Sun Staff | January 11, 1998
"Paradise," by Toni Morrison. Alfred A. Knopf. 321 pages. $25.During an interview with Claudia Tate in the 1980s, Toni Morrison put her finger on a difference between men and women that has become a leitmotif in all her work since."Men always want to change things, and women probably don't," Morrison told Tate. "I don't think it has much to do with women's powerlessness. Change could be death. You don't have to change everything. Some things should be just the way they are."But because men, in Morrison's view, think change is important, much mischief results.
FEATURES
By Carrie Rickey and Carrie Rickey,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE | November 29, 1998
What becalmed "Beloved"? Launched with galas and cover stories and borderline-reverent reviews, the Oprah Winfrey epic that arrived wrapped in Oscar predictions has been anything but beloved at the box office.In the five weeks since its Oct. 16 release, the $65 million picture, which stars Winfrey as a runaway slave whose nightmares continue well beyond the Civil War, earned a disappointing $22.5 million. Its failure, just 10 months after the fast fade of Steven Spielberg's "Amistad," another harrowing film about the slave experience, has prompted a rethinking of the market for prestigious, black-themed films.
FEATURES
By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | October 16, 1998
"Beloved" is the movie that couldn't be made, and was, about people who couldn't go on, and did.Admirers of "Beloved," Toni Morrison's novel about a former slave trying to rebuild her life during Reconstruction, were understandably skeptical when they heard that the Pulitzer Prize-winning book was being adapted for the screen. How could a movie ever begin to capture the book's complex structure, its poetic language, its interiority and rhythm?Director Jonathan Demme has solved that problem by narrowing his focus while hewing strictly to the novel's visual details and emotional tone.
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