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Free and outraged,Toni Morrison brought a powerful, engaged, and invaluable voice in the United States and in the world.

Free and outraged,Toni Morrison brought a powerful, engaged, and invaluable voice in the United States and in the world.

Published on August 7, 2019
Communiqué by the Elysée Palace following the passing of Toni Morrison

The great American novelist Toni Morrison, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, has died. She leaves behind an extensive body of work characterized by poetic, moral and political rigor.

While pursuing a brilliant career as an academic and editor of fiction, Toni Morrison published her first, and most pessimistic, novel in 1970. “The Bluest Eye” recounts the desire of a young black girl – alas, all too understandable at the time - to look like a young white girl and to have blue eyes, regardless of the cost.

But it was with her fifth and most famous novel, “Beloved” (1987) that Toni Morrison found international success. In it she narrated the desperate measures taken by an enslaved woman to ensure that her daughter did not experience the same terrible fate.

The only African-American woman to have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, Toni Morrison laid claim to “a way of writing” that is “irrevocably black,” not just in its stories and characters, but also its words, images, rhythms, and forms of oral expression.

Free and outraged, she brought a powerful, engaged, and invaluable voice to her books and to a public debate that had been lacking in the United States and in the world. But the truth of her observations and the battles she waged with her pen will continue to bear fruit and lend support to all the battles still left to win against discrimination and the persistence of racism.

President Macron pays tribute to this major writer and woman of conviction. He offers his condolences to her family, her loved ones, and her fellow citizens, and to the many French readers who passionately loved her work.

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