Toni Morrison (1931 – 2019) was an American novelist, editor, essayist, teacher, and professor. She was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Nobel Prize in Literature. Her body of work examined the black experience in America through great storytelling. This post will present a selection of wise quotes by Toni Morrison on writing, living, and love.
Morrison was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio in a working-class African-American family that influenced her love and appreciation for black culture. Growing up, she saw first-hand the horrifying reality of racism in America and used her understanding of racial history to connect it with the present.
Morrison was a great influence on numerous writers, including National Book Award finalist Jamel Brinkley, best-selling author Julia Alvarez, prize-winning poet Saeed Jones, and many more. American author George Saunders said, “There is something about the scale of her work that inspires other writers to think in a more expansive way,” and added, “she inspires with her incredible language and also the moral-ethical intensity of her work.”
Tuck Everlasting is a 1975 novel by Natalie Babbitt (1932 – 2016) about a young girl who stumbles on a family with an incredible secret. Originally intended for middle grade children, it’s a gracefully written story that has resonated with readers of all ages. It explores the idea of eternal life, and its flip side, mortality. The quotes from Tuck Everlasting that follow demonstrate the book’s charm and thoughtfulness.
When 10-year-old Winnie Foster inadvertently comes upon the Tuck family, she learns that they became immortal when they drank from a spring on her family’s property. They tell Winnie how they’ve watched life go by for decades, while they themselves never grow older. Winnie must decide if she’ll keep the Tucks’ secret, and whether she wants to join them on their immortal path. Read More→
Natalie Clifford Barney (1876 – 1972) was an American-born poet and novelist also known for her epigrams and pensées. She was an expat living the high life in early twentieth-century Paris where she presided over a famous literary salon. Here you’ll find a selection of quotes by Natalie Clifford Barney on life and love, from a woman who lived and loved to the fullest.
Though she published ten critically acclaimed books, she seems to be equally remembered for her colorful personal life as one of the movers and shakers of the Parisian lesbian circles of the time. She also used the wealth and privilege she was born into as a means of promoting other talented writers and artists. Read More→
Ntozake Shange (1948 2018) was an African American playwright, poet, and feminist. She is best remembered for her 1975 Obie Award-winning choreopoem, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf.
Born in Trenton, New Jersey, she was the oldest of four children in an upper-middle-class family. She attended a white school where she endured racial attacks to receive a “quality” education. Shange’s family pushed her to find an artistic outlet which was how she discovered her love for poetry.
Heartbreak and racial attacks were influences in her work, which spans several genres addresssing injustice, violence, and oppression. Though her choreopoems have been criticized for using African American dialect and one-sided attacks on black men, many value her work for its flair and lyricism. Here are empowering quotes by Ntozake Shange, a valiant and unapologetic talent in the world of fiction, poetry and theater.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (1928–2014) is a 1969 autobiography by the beloved writer and poet covering her upbringing and youth. The book is the first in a seven-volume series. It delves into Angelou’s journey, one in which she experiences and overcomes racism and trauma and develops the strength of character and a love of literature.
The book starts with her as a three-year-old being sent to Stamos, Arkansas, to live with their grandmother along with her older brother. By the end of the book, Angelou is sixteen years old and becomes a mother. Throughout the course of the book, Maya overcomes racism and transforms into an unbreakable woman as she is able to effectively respond to the ignorance of prejudice.
Angelou created her autobiography as a way to explore identity, rape, literacy, and racism. She also gives readers a new perspective about the lives of women in a society that is male-dominated, earning her praise as “a symbolic character for every black girl growing up in America.” Read More→