- Quote: “The function of freedom is to free someone else.”
- Answer: Toni Morrison left behind a legacy as a profound storyteller, and lived as an example of how artists could work to confront the status quo. In 1993, Morrison was the first African American woman to receive the coveted Nobel Prize in literature. Her body of work includes children’s books, novels, and essays.
- Quote: “I would not have you descend into your own dream. I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world.”
- Answer: New York-based writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has achieved a number of awards and nominations for his bestselling book “Between the World and Me,” a story about how a father reckons with America’s racist history. Coates has written many books since, including most recently, his first novel “The Water Dancer.” Coates is the current writer of both the “Black Panther” and “Captain America” comic book series.
- Quote: “The Edge... There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”
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- Answer: Hunter S. Thompson defined what came to be known as Gonzo journalism, where the writers become lodged in the center of the stories they are assigned to cover. His drug-addled work—and prolific attempt to cover a motorcycle race in the desert—led to the novel “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Thompson was a longtime writer for Rolling Stone magazine, ran for Sheriff of Aspen, Colorado, and covered the Hell’s Angels from the inside, among many of his wild and notable achievements.
- Quote: “Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”
- Answer: Elizabeth Gilbert is best known for her novel “Eat, Pray, Love,” about her search for freedom and discovery after taking a year to live abroad and focus on herself. After the tremendous success of the book, Gilbert has written more on the subjects of magic and creativity, discussing how artists choose whether or not to follow their ideas and listen to inspiration. Her most recent novel is “City of Girls.”
- Quote: “The practice of art isn’t to make a living. It’s to make your soul grow.”
- Answer: Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indiana, served in World War II, and sold Saabs in Cape Cod. He was also a gifted writer. After the success of “Slaughterhouse-Five,” inspired by Vonnegut’s time in Dresden during the war, he no longer had to sell cars to feed his family and was vaulted into the lineage of great American writers. He was an avowed humanist and socialist, and retained those values throughout his life.
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