Rooms of Their Own

Both were born in Ohio to African-American parents who had migrated from the South. Both became writers. Last week Rita Dove began her term as the U.S. poet laureate. And novelist Toni Morrison won th

Nearly everyone, including the author, was startled last week when the Swedish Academy awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature to the American novelist Toni Morrison. For one thing, the academy has shown a fondness for spreading the prize around geopolitically and linguistically; because the last two winners -- Nadine Gordimer in 1991 and Derek Walcott a year ago -- write in English, this year's winner figured to be one who works in another language. For another, the U.S. authors rumored to be in contention for the prize were Thomas Pynchon and Joyce Carol Oates; Morrison's name did not appear in...

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