Beloved writer Toni Morrison is dead at 88. Read some of her most powerful quotes

Nobel-Prize winning author Toni Morrison dies at 88

American novelist Toni Morrison, who wrote novels including "Beloved" and "The Bluest Eye," has died. She was 88.
Up Next
American novelist Toni Morrison, who wrote novels including "Beloved" and "The Bluest Eye," has died. She was 88.

Toni Morrison, Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize winning author, died Monday night at the age of 88, the Associated Press reports.

Morrison, a longtime professor of humanities at Princeton University, was known for her contributions to literature-at-large and magical realism.

Her works include Beloved — winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 — Song of Solomon and The Bluest Eye.

Morrison is lauded by critics and readers for her wisdom and almost prophetess-like insight. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.

The committee honored her as one “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.”

Here are some of her most well-loved quotes:

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the s--- that weighs you down.”

- Song of Solomon, 1977

“If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.”

- Song of Solomon, 1977

“Love is never any better than the lover. ”

- The Bluest Eye, 1970

“Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another--physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion.”

- The Bluest Eye, 1970

“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.”

- Beloved, 1987

“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”

- Beloved, 1987

“If you find a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

- from her Ohio Arts Council Speech, 1981

“As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.”

- from her interview with Bill Moyers

“Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge.”

- from her Nobel Prize lecture

“Anger ... it’s a paralyzing emotion ... you can’t get anything done. People sort of think it’s an interesting, passionate, and igniting feeling — I don’t think it’s any of that — it’s helpless ... it’s absence of control — and I need all of my skills, all of the control, all of my powers ... and anger doesn’t provide any of that — I have no use for it whatsoever.”

- from a 1987 interview with CBS

“Writers — journalists, essayists, bloggers, poets, playwrights — can disturb the social oppression that functions like a coma on the population, a coma despots call peace, and they stanch the blood flow of war that hawks and profiteers thrill to.”

- PEN award acceptance speech

Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.