Early Praise for What Moves at the Margin

What Moves at the Margin: Selected Nonfiction by Toni Morrison will be available from UPM in April. This title, edited by Carolyn Denard, is generating a lot of pre-pub buzz. What Moves at the Margin collects three decades of Toni Morrison's writings about her work, her life, literature, and American society. See below for comments from Publishers Weekly and ALA Booklist.

From the January 7 issue of Publishers Weekly:

Although Morrison’s powerful novels on race and identity have secured her literary reputation, the commanding voice of her essays, speeches and reviews offers compelling insights into family, history, other writers and politics. The pieces span from 1971, when Morrison was an editor at Random House, to 2002, the year she won the Nobel Prize, and range from book introductions to thoughts on the nature of writing and reflections on 9/11. In a 1971 New York Times Magazine article, Morrison bluntly observes that black women’s response to the nascent feminist movement is, “Distrust.... They look at white women and see them as the enemy.” Following Toni Cade Bambara’s death in 1995, Morrison recalled her friend’s writing gift: “Bambara is a writer’s writer, an editor’s writer, a reader’s writer... nothing distracts from the sheer satisfaction her story-telling provides.” In a powerful address delivered to the American Writers Congress in 1981, Morrison proclaims, “[W]e don’t need any more writers as solitary heroes. We need a heroic writers’ movement—assertive, militant, pugnacious.” Denard’s judicious selections offer eloquent insights into the themes that are the rich ground for Morrison’s haunting fiction.

From the February 1 issue of ALA Booklist

For Nobel laureate Morrison, language is holy, story is power, and inspiration is found “at the margin,” that is, in lives locked out of America’s white, corporate mainstream, in art of conscience, in overlooked beauty and hidden truths. Editor Denard incisively introduces this well-structured collection of clarion works spanning three decades and exemplifying Morrison’s exacting arguments, commanding forthrightness, and blistering wit on subjects personal and universal, timely and timeless. Whether she is remembering her grandparents, praising Toni Cade Bambara and other writers, defining black womanhood, celebrating black heritage, or dissecting racial and political issues, Morrison, drawing on her experiences as a book editor and educator as well as a novelist, rejects “lump thinking,” pursues historic facts, and brings courage and candor to bear on complex conflicts. A master stylist, penetrating thinker, and committed artist wholly engaged in transforming lives, Morrison believes that a novel “should be beautiful, and powerful, but it should also work. It should have something in it that enlightens.” Morrison holds to the same high standards in her revelatory nonfiction.
— Donna Seaman