Literary Musings

10 Fascinating Facts About Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize Winner

Toni Morrison, born Chloe Ardelia Wofford (1931 – 2019), was an American novelist, editor, essayist,  and professor. We’ll explore 10 fascinating facts about Toni Morrison that may give you a glimpse at what shaped her to become the woman and writer that we’ve come to know and love.

Widely remembered for her work and achievements, there’s much more about her eventful life that many readers may not be aware of.

>Morrison was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio, in a working-class African-American family that influenced her love and passion for black culture as she grew up hearing folktales, songs, and storytelling.  Read More→


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Turning Twelve: Making Room to Grow in The Long Secret by Louise Fitzhugh

“What in the world has happened to Beth Ellen?” Harriet wonders, just a few pages from the end of Louise Fitzhugh’s classic 1964 novel, Harriet the Spy. Harriet is still eleven years old and she sometimes still calls her friend ‘Mouse,’ but Beth Ellen comes into her own as a character in the 1965 novel, The Long Secret.

The Toronto Public Library has eighty-two copies of Harriet the Spy (1964) but only six copies of what was billed as the “Further Adventures of Harriet the Spy” — The Long Secret by Louise Fitzhugh, which was published the following year, and only two copies of Sport (1979). Read More→


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Playing Town: Revisiting Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy

Marcie McCauley reflects on revisiting Harriet the Spy, the 1964 classic by Louise Fitzhugh, and how the story continues to resonate and inspire her as a working writer.

See, first you take off your coat and hang it on the back of a library chair, use it to mark a comfortable seat as your place to return to with a stack of books. Then you fetch the ones you remember most fondly. You can’t have too many at one time or the librarians are annoyed. I usually have ten.* Read More→


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Keeper: Emily Brontë’s Fiercely Devoted Dog

Though Emily Brontë (1818 – 1848) only lived to the age of thirty, she produced Wuthering Heights, one of the most iconic novels in the English literary canon. An avowed introvert, Emily Brontë’s dog Keeper, a large and rather menacing dog, was among the most faithful companions of her adult life.

The sister of Charlotte and Anne Brontë, Emily didn’t care for company outside of her immediate family, and any time she ventured from her beloved Yorkshire moors, she became sick with longing to return.  Read More→


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The Enduring Power of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide by Ntozake Shange

“Through my tears I found god in myself and I loved her fiercely” is perhaps the most iconic quote from For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf  by Ntozake Shange (1948 – 2018). For Colored Girls has touched many hearts since it premiered in 1976. The 2019 production of For Colored Girls  at SUNY New Paltz was one such powerful and emotional presentation of Shange’s play.

For Colored Girls was Shange’s first work and remains her most acclaimed theatre piece, consisting of twenty captivating poetic monologues representing black sisterhood in a racist and sexist society. Shange describes her work as choreopoem, a form of dramatic expression incorporating poetry, dance, music, and song. This term was coined in 1975 by Shange herself to describe this work. Read More→


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