Image

6:24 PM / Saturday February 24, 2018

14 Nov 2010

Legendary novelist Toni Morrison awarded the Legion of Honor in France

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
November 14, 2010 Category: Diaspora Posted by:

By Jenny Barchfield

Associated Press

 

ABOVE PHOTO: U.S novelist Toni Morrison poses with her son Ford Morrison after being awarded of the Legion of Honor by French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand, unseen, in Paris, Wednesday Nov. 3, 2010.

(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

 

PARIS — Toni Morrison is “beloved” in France, the country’s culture minister said Wednesday, as he inducted the celebrated U.S. novelist into the elite Legion of Honor society.

 

In a ceremony in a gilded hall in the ministry, Frederic Mitterrand pinned a red and gold medal onto the celebrated author’s jacket as a scrum of photographers snapped away.

 

Mitterrand called Morrison — a Nobel laureate and winner of the Pulitzer Prize — “the greatest American novelist of her time.”

 

“I want to tell you that you incarnate what’s most beautiful about America … (that) which gives a black child, born during segregation into a modest family in a medium-sized Ohio city an exceptional destiny,” Mitterrand told Morrison, as she listened on from a gilt-covered armchair nearby. “You were the first woman writer to tell the painful history of Afro-Americans.”

 

“I am very moved because I think it’s very special to be with you, Toni Morrison, and to be able to tell you how much we admire you and we love you…. You’re ‘beloved,’ he said, with a nod to the 1987 novel “Beloved,” which won Morrison international acclaim.

Image

 

Mitterrand then launched into a reading of an excerpt from the French translation of Morrison’s “Jazz.”

 

Taking to the podium after Mitterrand’s address, Morrison hailed his rendition as “exquisite.”

 

“I’ve always felt welcomed in France and especially in Paris, and it’s important to me, the receipt of this medal, the Legion of Honor, because now I know in addition to being welcomed, I am prized,” said Morrison, her long gray dreadlocks falling in a cascade down her back.

 

Following the ceremony, journalists swarmed Morrison to get her reaction to the Democrats’ defeat in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

 

“I’m not here to talk about Obama, I’m here to talk about me,” she eventually said in exasperation, as they continued to pester her.

 

Morrison, an Ohio native who was born Chloe Anthony Wofford in 1931, began writing in 1970. She won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993 and a Pulitzer Prize for “Beloved” — which in 2006 was deemed the best American novel of the past 25 years by a group of critics and writers assembled by The New York Times Book Review.

 

Some of her other works, including “Jazz,” “Song of Solomon” and “The Bluest Eye” have also won her worldwide acclaim and have been translated into scores of languages.

 

With Wednesday’s ceremony, Morrison was made an officer in the Legion of Honor. She had already been made a knight in another top French honor society, the Order of Arts and Letters, Mitterrand said.

 

Created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the Legion of Honor recognizes military, cultural, scientific or social contributions to France, including by people who are not French citizens.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Go With The-Flo

Tamron Hall helps raise funds for the Apollo Theatre Foundation at the annual “Dining With The Divas” luncheon

February 22, 2018

ABOVE PHOTO:  Tamron Hall (Debby Wong/shutterstock)   By Florence Anthony Joking about her mother’s daughter being “unemployed”...

Color Of Money

Q&A with Ken Chenault, former CEO of American Express

February 22, 2018

ABOVE PHOTO:  CEO and Chairman of American Express Kenneth Chenault attends LMCC gala & benefit dinner at...

Food And Beverage

Throw a Hot-Pot Dinner Party

February 22, 2018

ABOVE PHOTO:  Caribbean Hot-Pot Broth with Papaya Pica Sauce   Family Features Heat up your next get-together...

Seniors

The secret to sticking to your resolutions just may lie in your Medicare benefits

February 22, 2018

BPT Despite our best intentions, 80 percent of us have given up on our New Year’s resolutions...

Health

Newly launched Cancer.com provides much needed personalized support for people impacted by cancer

February 22, 2018

BPT Whether you’ve helped a family member through treatment or are facing a diagnosis yourself, hearing the...

Horoscopes

SUNscopes for the week of Feb. 25

February 22, 2018

All Signs: This is the last week of the year when the Sun is in Aquarius. A...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff