TONI MORRISON (b. 1931) is one of the most successful and admired authors in the history of American literature. Her novels include The Bluest Eye (1970), Sula (1973), Song of Solomon (1977) and Beloved (1987), which is widely considered to be her masterpiece. After successful careers in both academia and publishing during the 1960s and ’70s, Morrison’s critical and commercial success enabled her to devote more time to her writing. In 1993, the Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature to Morrison, “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.”
In this episode, host Jacke Wilson intersperses Toni Morrison’s biographical details and literary achievements with a discussion of his first encounters with Morrison’s works and what they meant to him.
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Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) lived a life that, in retrospect, looks almost like one of her short stories: sudden, impactful, and lastingly powerful. Deeply Catholic, O’Connor portrayed the American South as a place full of complex characters seeking redemption in unusual and often violent ways. She once said that she had found that violence was “strangely capable of returning my characters to reality and preparing them to accept their moment of grace,” and it is this confrontation – restless faith crashing into pain and evil – that energizes O’Connor’s best works. Possessed of almost supernatural writerly gifts, O’Connor’s insight and artistry place her in the uppermost echelon of American authors. Host Jacke Wilson tells the story of O’Connor’s life, her most famous works, and his own near-connection to the author…before concluding with some troubling recent discoveries and a preview of a deeper examination of O’Connor and her place in American letters.