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August 7, 2019 | Alumni

Alumna Dionne Brand remembers fellow U of T honorary degree recipient Toni Morrison: Globe and Mail

Toni Morrison smiles, wearing academic robes and a hat as she sits on stage at Convocation Hall after receiving an honorary degree.

Toni Morrison (Hon DLitt 2002), the Nobel laureate in literature, received an honorary degree from the University of Toronto in 2002 (photo courtesy of University of Toronto Archives)

Reflecting on the life and work of Toni Morrison (Hon DLitt 2002) in the Globe and Mail, Dionne Brand (BA 1975 UTM, MA 1988, Hon DLitt 2018) writes the novelist and academic “had an enormous impact on language, on ideas, on breaking open historical silences.”

Morrison “was the greatest writer in English of the 20th century and the 21st, since this century is still in its infancy,” Brand writes.

Brand, a novelist and poet, is an alumna of the University of Toronto and was an honorary degree recipient in 2018. Morrison, who died on Monday, received an honorary degree from U of T in 2002.

Morrison brought issues like slavery and race to the fore, with a beauty and a purpose, Brand writes.  

“When you walked out of a Toni Morrison novel and onto the street you became more certain of your own viability. You knew something.” 

Read Brand’s appreciation in the Globe and Mail

Dionne Brand smiles as she leans, arms folded, on a telephone pole on a downtown street. The sign on the pole reads: "How to get the job you want"
Dionne Brand (BA 1975 UTM, MA 1988, Hon DLitt 2018)  (photo by Colin McConnell/Toronto Star/Getty Images)


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