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‘Beloved’ author speaks about writing, revelations, and good and evil

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Pulitzer– and Nobel Prize–winning author Toni Morrison sees an increasing prevalence of evil in literature

Writing gives Morrison more than the freedom to imagine worlds beyond her own. Her books allow her to explore a topic that has been tugging at her for more than 40 years, and which she will explore during the Santa Cruz lecture: “Literature and the Silence of Goodness.”

Some readers may be surprised to hear Morrison’s concerns about literary evil, considering its strong presence in so many of her books, which contain, among other things, a gang rape, gruesome depictions of slavery, and an act of infanticide.

Morrison concedes “there is a lot of sadness and melancholy among the people in my books,” but “for me, there is always an ending in which somebody knows something extremely important that they didn’t know before; the acquisition of knowledge is a gesture of mine toward goodness”.

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