Toni Mor­ri­son re­ceives Bel­low award for life­time achieve­ment

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NEWS -

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.”

Toni Mor­ri­son

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