Toni Morrison receives $25K PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction

Morrison is the author of the American classic novels Beloved and Song of Solomon.
Nobel prize-winning author Toni Morrison, whose ninth novel, A Mercy, has just been released. ((Stephen Chernin/Reuters))

Nobel laureate Toni Morrison has been awarded the $25,000 PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, an honourary prize given to a distinguished living American author of fiction.

"Toni Morrison not only opened doors to others when she began to publish, she has also stayed grounded in the issues of her time," said Louise Erdrich, a judge and former recipient of the award.

"At every turn, she has commented upon and enlarged the conversation about what it is to be black, female, human, universal. Her brilliant and bracing fiction continues to address what is crucial, timely and timeless."

Morrison, 85, is the author of Beloved, Song of Solomon, and most recently, God Help the Child.

The PEN Literary Awards announced most of the winners of their other awards on Tuesday. Canadians Rosemary Sullivan, nominated in the biography category for her book Stalin's Daughter, and Brin-Jonathan Butler, nominated in the literary sports writing category for The Domino Diaries: My Decade Boxing With Olympic Champions and Chasing Hemingway's Ghost in the Last Days of Castro's Cuba, were not among this year's winners.

The list of winning writers include:

  • PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction ($25,000): The Leavers by Lisa Ko
  • PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): The Secret Game: A Wartime Story of Courage, Change, and Basketball's Lost Triumph by Scott Ellsworth
  • PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): John Schulian
  • PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art by Nancy Princenthal
  • PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writing Fellowship ($5,000): A Chemical Distance by Ash Parsons
  • PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector, translated by Katrina Dodson
  • PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa, translated by Sawako Nakayasu
  • PEN/Edward and Lily Tuck Award for Paraguayan Literature ($3,000): Doce Lunas Llenas: Poesias sobre la Divina Energia Femenina by Nathalia María Echauri Castagnino

The PEN Literary Awards will announce the winners of their remaining prizes at a ceremony on April 11, including the prizes for debut fiction, essay writing and science writing.

Below, we've compiled CBC interviews with Morrison.


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