Toni Morrison is set to set to receive the presidential medal of freedom later this year. The Nobel-winning author is gearing up for the release of her new book, “Home”, and is one of thirteen recipients of the prize, alongside Bob Dylan and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright.
“These extraordinary honorees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our nation,” President Obama said. “They’ve challenged us, they’ve inspired us, and they’ve made the world a better place. I look forward to recognizing them with this award.”
Morrison — who’s notoriously indifferent to the media — has done a few high-profile interviews in the run-up to the release of her new work. Last month the Guardian published a must-read interview that’s both poignant, hard-hitting and, at times, hilarious.
In a recent interview with New York Magazine, Morrison talked about her public and private personas. The author was born Chloe Wofford, and revealed how she’s sometimes at battle with her very public alter ego. “I still can’t get to that Toni Morrison place yet,” she says.
That might be because Chloe knows Toni doesn’t belong to her. The things that made her Toni Morrison—Nobel laureate, political litmus test, college staple, gray-haired eminence—have never been completely in her control. Which isn’t to say that she didn’t break seemingly impenetrable barriers. As a student, then an editor, then an author and academic, Morrison fought unapologetically for the importance of considering racial politics in literature and of bringing marginalized American forces and shameful American secrets into the cultural mainstream. No one benefited more from her bold stance on the barricades of inclusiveness than Morrison herself.
Read the rest over at New York Magazine.