The Gift of Toni Morrison’s Wisdom

Our Toni Morrison fest started when New Yorker writer Mary Pilon came on The Confab to talk about her book, The Monopolists. As with all our guests, we asked her to tell us about the book that inspired her. It turned out to be The Source of Self-Regard by Toni Morrison, a collection of essays and speeches that Mary said was like having a wise woman at her bedside. Listen to why Mary picked it as her Book That Inspires:

Since The Confab is all about wise women telling their stories, we reached back into the archives to find this interview with Toni Morrison that I did 35 years ago on a PBS show I co-hosted called First Edition. In this clip, Toni is talking about a book she was working on. Can you guess what it was? Keep reading after the video to find out.

Of course we didn’t know it at the time but the book Toni Morrison is describing here – “This book is pulling me in a way that I’ve never been pulled before” – was to be Beloved, which would win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and become one of the most loved and admired works of American fiction.

In the same way that we ask every Confab guest to talk about a book that inspires her, on First Edition we asked every guest to read a favorite passage from one of their books. Here is Toni Morrison reading from Tar Baby.

Once you hear that mellifluous voice, you’ll understand why along with reading Toni from the printed page, we’re all running to Audible to listen to her read her books.

And to bring it full circle to what we’re doing at The Confab, here I am talking on First Edition about a community of successful women writers like Toni Morrison supporting other women. Communities of women supporting women. Are we beginning to see a theme here?