Toni Morrison’s Momentous Editorial Career

March 5, 2021

At ZORA, Arielle Gray reflects on the lasting legacy of Toni Morrison‘s role as an editor and how she ushered in a generation of writers during her 19-year career at Random House. “When we think of an editor, we think of notes in the margins, strikethroughs, and (lots of) corrections,” Gray writes. “But Morrison’s role went beyond annotating and adjusting manuscripts. She was a caretaker of a blossoming universe of Black literature, stewarding a cadre of writers and thinkers who would change the world. Morrison considered everything, from book jacket designs to which cover colors would catch the eye in bookstore windows. Her hands played a part in everything, including the advertising of the books she edited to ensure the works reached the eyes of literary critics and academics.”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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