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Toni Morrison, Whose Soaring Novels Were Rooted In Black Lives, Dies At 88

 August 7, 2019 at 10:26 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 Readers and writers around the globe. I'm mourning the loss of Nobel Prize winning author Tony Morrison. We spoke to to San Diego writers about the influence that Morrison had on their work and lives. Here's Tia Meredith who lives downtown. Her first encounter with Morrison's writing was in middle school and she read the bluest eye, a story of an African American girl growing up during the great depression, the girl was regarded as ugly because of her dark skin and yearned to have blue eyes. Speaker 2: 00:27 My Dad is black and I will say black because I grew up in Missouri. We don't say African American and you know, that's just cause the climate of what I grew up in. I had a white mother and she had blue eyes and there was a lot of conflicting feelings in myself growing up of looking at my mother and she's, you know, blonde haired and blue eyed. And that's kind of set as the, the picture of beauty. And that's not what I look like at all. You know, I have very curly hair, nearly kinky. I have dark eyes and you know, darker skin. I'm not dark skin, but darker skin, especially for a biracial child. So that book was very impactful on many, many levels. Speaker 1: 01:05 Meredith has published a children's book and writes fiction, specifically magical realism. Richard feral lives in point Loma and his debut novel, the falling woman will be published in May. He writes literary fiction. He says Morrison's Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech inspired him to become a writer. Speaker 2: 01:22 She talks a lot about storytelling and the importance of storytelling and and how it's cross cultural. So I'm a white writer and you know her experiences certainly weren't my experiences, but she spoke beyond the individual's capacity to experience the world that way. The passage that cheats is, she's talking about his old blind storyteller and two children have come up to her and they've asked her to tell them a story and she doesn't want to. She thinks that they're trying to trick her with a riddle. And then this is the part of the speech that really got to me. She said, Speaker 3: 01:53 stop thinking about saving your face. Think of our lives and tell us your particular eyes. World make up a story. Narrative is radical creating us at the very moment it is being created. We will not blame you if your reach exceeds your grass. Speaker 1: 02:19 Morrison died in a New York hospital on Monday following a brief illness. She was 88. Speaker 4: 02:28 Um, Speaker 5: 02:33 um.

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Morrison was the author of Beloved, Song of Solomon and The Bluest Eye. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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