TONI MORRISON the 2016 PEN/Saul Bellow Award Tribute and Presentation by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino
A tribute to Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, 2016 PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction winner with actress Adepero Oduye, actor Delroy Lindo, jazz pianist Jason Moran, mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran, and Master of Ceremonies Kevin Young, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The New School, New York, October 27, 2016.
PEN America celebrated literary legend Toni Morrison with a special program featuring performances showcasing her standard of excellence in storytelling across genre and disciplines. Acclaimed actors Adepero Oduye and Delroy Lindo read excerpts of Morrison’s work, and renowned husband-and-wife jazz duo Alicia Hall Moran and Jason Moran performed to honor the musicality of Morison’s writing. Award-winning poet and scholar Kevin Young, the incoming Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, served as Master of Ceremonies. Morrison is the recipient of the 2016 PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction winner, which was presented to her live at the ceremony by PEN America President Andrew Solomon. In attendance: Mezzo-soprano Hilda Harris, ‘Femi Sarah Heggie, Malaika Adero, Howard Dodson, Jr., Farah Jasmine Griffin, Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., Margaret Porter Troupe, Quincy Troupe, Ming Smith, and more.
“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.” —Louise Erdrich, Dinaw Mengestu, and Francine Prose, 2016 PEN/Saul Bellow Award judges
Nobel laureate Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford; February 18, 1931; Lorain, Ohio) is one of the most decorated living authors worldwide. In 1993, she became the first and only African-American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. She received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 for her novel Beloved, which was recognized as the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years. She was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, is listed as “100 Greatest Writers of All Time”, and is a Professor Emeritus at Princeton University.
Photography by Celebrity Photojournalist Lisa Pacino of Under The Duvet Productions, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Adepero Oduye hails from Brooklyn, New York City by way of Nigeria. Her name is pronounced “Add-eh-pair-o Oh-due-yay.” Her theater credits include Danai Gurira’s play Eclipsed, at the Yale Repertory Theatre; The Bluest Eye, at the Hartford Stage and Long Wharf Theatres; and Fela!, in the AEA workshop, directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones. Ms. Oduye first starred for writer/director Dee Rees as Alike in the award-winning short film Pariah. Among the other shorts that she has starred in are Gabriele Zamparini’s Water; Russell Costanzo’s The Tested; and Nadiah Hamzah’s Sub Rosa.
Delroy George Lindo is a British-American actor and theater director. Lindo has been nominated for the Tony an Screen Actors Guild awards and has won a Satellite Award. He is perhaps best known for his roles in a trio of Spike Lee films, especially as West Indian Archie in Lee’s Malcolm X (1992) and Woody Carmichael in Crooklyn (1994), Catlett in Get Shorty, Arthur Rose in The Cider House Rules, and Detective Castlebeck in Gone in 60 Seconds (2000). Lindo starred as Alderman Ronin Gibbons in the TV series The Chicago Code (2011) and as Winter on the series Believe, which premiered in 2014.
Alicia Hall Moran, mezzo-soprano, is a multi-dimensional artist performing across the genres of Classical music, Theater, Art, and Jazz. Ms. Moran starred as Bess on the National Tour of Porgy and Bess, visiting 20 major American cities. Ms. Moran debuted as Bess at the esteemed American Repertory Theater and also achieved her Broadway debut as Bess while understudying Audra McDonald, who earned a Tony Award for the role. She released her critically-praised album, HEAVY BLUE, in 2016.
Jason Moran Jason Moran is a pianist, composer, and bandleader establishing classical, blues, and jazz techniques with the musical influences of his generation, including funk, hip-hop, and rock. He received a B.M. (1997) from the Manhattan School of Music. His recordings as a leader include Soundtrack to Human Motion (1999), The Bandwagon: Live at the Village Vanguard (2003), Artist in Residence (2006), and TEN (2010), among others. He joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory in 2010. Jason is the current Artistic Director for Jazz at the Kennedy Center. His soundtracks include “Selma” and “The 13th” by Ava DuVernay.
Kevin Young is the author of eleven books of poetry and prose, most recently Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015 (Knopf, 2016), which was longlisted for the National Book Award. His collection Jelly Roll: a blues (Knopf, 2003) was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry. Young’s nonfiction book The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness (Graywolf, 2012) won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and the PEN Open Book Award; it was also a New York Times Notable Book for 2012 and a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. He will serve as Director of the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture starting in December 2016.
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