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Dangerous Work: An Evening with Toni Morrison

A tribute to Toni Morrison, 2016 PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction Winner with actress Adepero Oduye, actor Delroy Lindo, jazz pianist Jason Moran, and mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran. With Master of Ceremonies Kevin Young, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. 


Be sure to watch the event livestreamed below starting at 7pm Tonight, October 27.

“The works of Chloe Anthony Wofford, better known as Toni Morrison, have changed the landscape of American fiction. Revelatory, intelligent, bold, her fiction is invested in the black experience, in black lives, and in black consciousness, material from which she has forged a singular American aesthetic.

Toni Morrison not only opened doors to others when she began to publish, she has also stayed grounded in the issues of her time. At every turn, she has commented upon and enlarged the conversation about what it is to be black, female, human, universal. Her brilliant and bracing fiction continues to address what is crucial, timely and timeless.

For her enduring command of her art, the judges take great pleasure in awarding Toni Morrison the PEN/Saul Bellow Prize for American Fiction 2016.”

Louise Erdrich, Dinaw Mengestu, and Francine Prose, 2016 PEN/Saul Bellow Award  judges 


Adepero Oduye, who gave a breakout performance as the star of Dee Rees’ PARIAH, hails from Brooklyn, New York by way of Nigeria. Her film credits include THE BIG SHORT and TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE. She made her Broadway debut opposite Miss Cicely Tyson in the acclaimed revival of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful”. Other theater credits include “The Bluest Eye,” at the Hartford Stage and Long Wharf Theatre and “Eclipsed” at the Yale Repertory Theatre. She co-starred with Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad, Alfre Woodard, Jill Scott and Condola Rashad in Lifetime’s “Steel Magnolias” for director Kenny Leon and in Ava DuVernay’s Miu Miu Women’s Tale “The Door” alongside Woodard and Gabrielle Union. On television, she made guest appearances on “Louie” and two “Law & Order” series. Recently, Oduye wrote and directed her first short film, BREAKING IN, which won the Inspiration Award at the 2015 Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival. 

Delroy George Lindo is a British-American actor and theater director. Lindo has been nominated for the Tony an Screen Actors Guild awards and has won a Satellite Award. He is perhaps best known for his roles in a trio of Spike Lee films, especially as West Indian Archie in Lee’s Malcolm X (1992) and Woody Carmichael in Crooklyn (1994), Catlett in Get Shorty, Arthur Rose in The Cider House Rules, and Detective Castlebeck in Gone in 60 Seconds (2000). Lindo starred as Alderman Ronin Gibbons in the TV series The Chicago Code (2011) and as Winter on the series Believe, which premiered in 2014.

Alicia Hall Moran, mezzo-soprano, is a multi-dimensional artist performing across the genres of Classical music, Theater, Art, and Jazz. Ms. Moran starred as Bess on the National Tour of Porgy and Bess, visiting 20 major American cities. Ms. Moran debuted as Bess at the esteemed American Repertory Theater and also achieved her Broadway debut as Bess while understudying Audra McDonald, who earned a Tony Award for the role. She released her critically-praised album, HEAVY BLUE, in 2016.

Jason Moran is a pianist, composer, and bandleader who mines a variety of musical styles to create adventurous, genre-crossing jazz performances. Moran’s signature corpus marries established classical, blues, and jazz techniques with the musical influences of his generation, including funk, hip-hop, and rock. Jason Moran received a B.M. (1997) from the Manhattan School of Music. His additional recordings as a leader include Soundtrack to Human Motion (1999), The Bandwagon: Live at the Village Vanguard (2003), Artist in Residence (2006), and TEN (2010), among others. He joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory in 2010.

Kevin Young is the author of eleven books of poetry and prose, most recently Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015 (Knopf, 2016), which was longlisted for the National Book Award. His collection Jelly Roll: a blues (Knopf, 2003) was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry. Young’s nonfiction book The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness (Graywolf, 2012) won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and the PEN Open Book Award; it was also a New York Times Notable Book for 2012 and a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. He will serve as Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture starting in December 2016.


This event is co-sponsored by The New School Creative Writing Program.