This article first appeared on npr.org, August 6, 2019
When Toni Morrison received her Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, her remarks began with a reflection on the phrase once upon a time. In her signature, measured cadence, Morrison told the Swedish Academy she believed these were some of the first words we remember from our childhoods.
Morrison, who was 88, died Monday night at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, according to her publisher, Penguin Random House. Morrison’s family, in a statement released by the publisher, said she died “following a short illness” and surrounded by loved ones.