One in this series of talk shows hosted by Charlie Rose. This edition features an interview with Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. The program begins with a discussion of MorrisonÕs latest novel, "Paradise." Morrison explains that the book was inspired by a story she heard during her travels in Brazil, in which a group of Black nuns were attacked and killed by policemen. As Morrison struggled to understand the mentality that allowed men to commit such acts of violence, she says, she considered the ways in which people scapegoat others in order to avoid their own shortcomings. She talks about the novelÕs fictional town of Ruby, which began as a paradise or oasis created by freed slaves, and she reflects on the role of "the convent," which became an informal shelter for displaced women. She concludes that the group of men from Ruby attacked the "convent" women because they could not control them. She also compares the fictional group of Ruby men with Black conservatives of the 1950s and 1960s who were wary of the disruption and changes brought about by the Civil Rights Movement. Next, Morrison explains that "Paradise" is the third in a trilogy of novels, following "Beloved" and "Jazz," that explore three kinds of excessive love -- a motherÕs love, romantic love, and love of God. Morrison then discusses the following subjects: the historical role of the Black church; effective and irresponsible criticism she has received; and the improvement in current reviews from those twenty years earlier, which denied the diversity of Black literature. She responds to criticism that she should write about something other than race by pointing to African writers such as Chinua Achebe and Bessie Head, whose work inspired her to write within the parameters of her own race, free from the white gaze. Next, Rose outlines the authorÕs academic and professional background, after which she comments on the growth of her writing career, which began with an informal writing group and her book "The Bluest Eye" and came of age with the novel "Song of Solomon." Morrison goes on to discuss her use of language, her goals in writing, and her efforts to anticipate the thoughts of the reader. She then explains why receiving the Nobel Prize was an honor, a collective victory, and a responsibility. Morrison calls "Paradise" her strongest work in terms of technique, and she describes the challenge of writing without using racial terms or markers. Morrison comments on her obligations to the Black community as both a writer and a citizen, and she commends the work of those who are rebuilding that community on a local level. Finally, Morrison describes her novels' genesis; they begin as an small idea and develop as images, anecdotes, and language attach themselves to the idea. In particular she describes the development of "Paradise."

Cataloging of this program was made possible by Rosalind P. Walter, 1999.


  • DATE: January 19, 1998 Monday 11:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:56:46
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:58161
  • GENRE: Talk/Interviews
  • SUBJECT HEADING: American fiction - African-American authors; American literature; Nobel prizes
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV series, 1991-2017


  • Charlie Rose … Executive Producer
  • Yvette Vega … Senior Producer
  • Christine Mangan … Supervising Producer
  • Josh Block … Producer
  • Rebecca Carroll … Producer
  • Jonathan Norman … Producer
  • Irene Wang … Producer
  • Cara Familet … Associate Producer
  • Thomas Carter … Line Producer
  • Chris Sgueglia … Director
  • Charlie Rose … Host
  • Toni Morrison … Guest
  • Chinua Achebe
  • Bessie Head
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