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The American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher, and professor emeritus was the first black woman to win the Nobel Prize. She won the award for literature in 1993 and its citation noted: her “novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality”.
She has written countless books and articles about the African American experience, especially that of black women in America. Her book, Beloved, about a black woman who killed her daughter to save her from returning to slavery won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988. It was adapted into a film starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover in 1998.
In 1996, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected Morrison for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities. She was honored with the 1996 National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. In 2012, President Barack Obama presented Morrison with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and in 2016, she received the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.