In a ceremony on Thursday, October 27 th at the New School Auditorium in New York City, Toni Morrison was awarded the 2016 Pen /Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. The event, called “A Dangerous Work: An Evening With Toni Morrison” included tributes from actress Adepero Oduye, actor Delroy Lindo, jazz pianist Jason Moran, and mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran. Kevin Young, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, served as Master of Ceremonies.

The PEN/Saul Bellow Award goes to a living American author whose scale of achievement in fiction, over a sustained career, and places him or her in the highest rank of American literature.


“The works of Chloe Anthony Wofford, better known as Toni Morrison, have changed the landscape of American fiction. Revelatory, intelligent, bold, her fiction is invested in the black experience, in black lives, and in black consciousness, material from which she has forged a singular American aesthetic. Toni Morrison not only opened doors to others when she began to publish, she has also stayed grounded in the issues of her time. 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. For her enduring command of her art, the judges take great pleasure in awarding Toni Morrison the PEN/Saul Bellow Prize for American Fiction 2016.”

Watch video of the event below with a livestream starting at 7pm Thursday, October 27: