In an interview
with the Paris Review, Toni Morrison described her writing process and motivations throughout her career, as well as why she wanted to be known first and foremost as an African-American writer, over and above being known as a great novelist. Her initial inspiration for character of Sethe came from a New York Times obituary that explored the life of Margaret Garner
. When she won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, Morrison delivered a lecture
that gives us more insight into her ideas and ways of speaking and writing. This PBS Newshour lesson
describes what we can learn from Morrison’s writing, and it includes a collection of video clips of interviews from the author’s career where she discusses white supremacy, the role of the writer, and the white gaze. Toni Morrison’s lasting influence can be seen in writer Doreen St. Felix’s reflections
on what reading Morrison meant to her as a young black girl.