Toni Morrison to be Awarded the 2016 Edward MacDowell Medal

Posted on April 10, 2016

Toni Morrison author photo 2016

Novelist Toni Morrison will be awarded the 2016 Edward MacDowell Medal. The award will be presented to Ms. Morrison by The MacDowell Colony on Sunday, August 14th at a ceremony that is open to the public. The award is given to an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to American culture. Past Medal recipients include Georgia O'Keefe, John Updike, Joan Didion, Betye Saar and Gunther Schuller

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Toni Morrison has won the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Pulitzer Prize. Her novels include The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved, and A Mercy. MacDowell Colony Chairman Michael Chabon had this to say about this year's medal: "Toni Morrison is indisputably the greatest living American novelist. With the prophetic vision that is the oldest, truest patrimony of American literature she sees us as we are now, as we have been and as we have never lived up to our promise to become. In the refiners fire of that vision she has shaped the raw, hard stuff of our singularly violent history -- the factual and the mythic history alike -- into epics of everyday tragedy, written in a prose style that like all the greatest American prose styles alloys the fiercely poetic and the wryly conversational to forge a language that shines with compassion and cuts like steel. She is the writer we have been most blessed to have among us during our lifetimes. Her face belongs on postage stamps and mountainsides."

The selection committee was chaired by Dave Eggers. Other committee members included Marlon James, Man Booker Prize- winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings; Amy Tan, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Bonesetter’s Daughter; and Julie Orringer, author of the short-story collection How to Breathe Underwater and the novel The Invisible Bridge.

Eggers said of Ms. Morrison, "If any writer could be called our nation's conscience, that writer would be Toni Morrison. And though she was recognized with the Nobel Prize in 1993, since then she has continued to produce novels of astonishing power and beauty. She once said, 'If you can't find the book you want to read, you must write it,' and that urgency is evident in every line and every book that bears her name."

The award ceremony will take place on Sunday, August 14, 2016, beginning at 12:15 p.m. at the MacDowell Colony grounds in Peterborough, New Hampshire. For this one day the Colony is open to the public. You can find out more about the Colony and the many interesting Medal Day activities here.

Photo: Michael Lionstar