U.S. author Toni Morrison, whose 1987 novel Beloved about a runaway slave won a Pulitzer Prize and contributed to a body of work that made her the first black woman to be presented the Nobel Prize in Literature, has died at the age of 88, her publisher said.
Shop, The New Harlem World Shop!
Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for the publishing company Alfred A. Knopf, announced the death but did not provide an immediate cause.
Beloved was set during the U.S. Civil War and based on the true story of a woman who killed her two-year-old daughter so she would not become a slave. The woman was captured before she could kill herself and the child’s ghost, known as Beloved, visits her mother.
Morrison told NEA Arts magazine in 2015 that she had already written a third of the book before deciding to bring in the ghost to address the morality of whether the mother was right to kill the child.
The novel was part of a trilogy that Morrison said looked at love through the perspective of black history. Jazz, published in 1992, was about a love triangle during the Harlem Renaissance in New York in the 1920s, and the third book, Paradise, published in 1997, told of women in a small, predominantly black town.
Take a Harlem Gospel & Jazz Tour