Toni Morrison receives Bellow award for lifetime achievement
Toni Morrison received a lifetime achievement award Thursday night from the PEN American Center, a ceremony of music and words that ended with a special treat from the guest of honor: An excerpt from a novel in progress.
Hundreds gathered at the New School auditorium in Manhattan as the Nobel winner received a prize named for a previous laureate, the $25,000 PEN/ Saul Bellow Award.
The 85-year-old Morrison spoke of how “meaningful” each of her books were, like children to whom she had given birth. Noting that she might not get “another half or full decade,” she announced, to excited murmurs from the audience, that a new work was underway and shared some lines from the opening section, narrated by a mute.
“Ma said I was born without a voice box. Box. Couldn’t you buy one?” Morrison read. “Anyway, being speechless doesn’t mean I can’t hear. I hear everything — everything.”