A Tribute to Toni Morrison | Mechanics' Institute

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A Tribute to Toni Morrison

See events happening in February at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD)

Join this extraordinary evening to celebrate and honor one of America’s most important authors who gave voice to of the African American experience through the history of slavery, family and community. This program hosted by author Sarah Lapido Manyika (Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun) features acclaimed Bay Area authors including Michael Chabon (Book ends, Pops, Moonglow) and Natalie Baszile (Queen Sugar), poet and environmental justice advocate, Nia McAllister, and Professor Ato Quayson of Stanford University. Panelists will engage in a lively conversation about the influence and impact of Morrison’s life and work and read favorite selections.

Author and essayist Toni Morrison (1931-2019) was known for her portrayals of African American lives and struggles throughout our country’s history with luminous prose and the voice of Black oral traditions.   Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. Her 1977 novel Song of Solomon (1977) won the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 1988, Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize for Beloved (1987); she gained worldwide recognition when she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. On May 29, 2012, President Barack Obama presented Morrison with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2016, she received the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.

Sarah Ladipo Manyika is a writer, academic and overall lover of stories. She was raised in Nigeria and has lived in Kenya, France, Zimbabwe, and England. Sarah, who interviewed Toni Morrison in 2017, is a novelist, short story writer and essayist and founding books editor for Ozy.com. Her debut novel, In Dependence, is an international bestseller while her second novel, Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, has been translated into a number of languages. Sarah serves as Board Director for the women's writing residency, Hedgebrook.

Natalie Baszile is the author of We Are Each Other’s Harvest:Black Farming, Land & Memory, forthcoming from HarperCollins and Queen Sugar, which has been adapted for television by writer/director Ava DuVernay and co-produced by Oprah Winfrey.  Natalie has had residencies at the Ragdale Foundation, VCCA, Hedgebrook, and  Djerassi where she was the SFFILM and Bonnie Rattner Fellow. Her non-fiction work has appeared in Lenny LetterThe Bitter SouthernerO, The Oprah Magazine, and numerous anthologies. She has taught fiction at Saint Mary’s College in the MFA Program and is on Sierra Nevada College’s MFA Faculty. She is a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. 

Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, A Model World, Wonder Boys, Werewolves in their Youth, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Summerland, The Final Solution, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Maps & Legends, Gentlemen of the Road, Telegraph Avenue, Moonglow, and the picture book The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man. He lives in Berkeley, California with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children.

Living at the intersection of blackness, womanhood, art, and activism, Nia McAllister is a Bay Area born poet, avid reader, and environmental justice advocate. She is the host and curator of the monthly open mic series at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, where she is also the Visitor Experience Manager. Nia's poetry has been featured on Poets of Color Podcast, and she can be found frequenting open mics around the greater Bay Area.  

Ato Quayson is a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2019 was elected Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. He is Professor of English at Stanford. He was a Cambridge Commonwealth Scholar (1991-1994), Chief Examiner in English for the International Baccalaureate (2005-2007) and member of the European Research Council (2010-2017). He has also held Fellowships at the Du Bois Institute for African American Studies at Harvard (2004), and the Research Centre in the Humanities at Australian National University (2015). He has lectured widely in Africa, Europe, Canada, the United States, Singapore, Turkey, Hong Kong, Australia, and various other places. 


Mechanics' Institute Members $5
MoAD Members $5
Public $15
Register now ›
4th Floor Meeting Room
Pam Troy - 415-393-0116
Register now by using the form below or calling 415-393-0101.

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