Toni Morrison on Beloved (c. 2009)

"So he raced from dogwood to blossoming peach."

In 2009 Toni Morrison visited the BBC's World Book Club to discuss her Pulitzer-Prizewinning masterpiece Beloved with host Harriet Gilbert and an international group of fans. The BBC has re-podcasted the recording of Morrison's appearance in honor of the 25th anniversary of Beloved's publication. The Book Club members' questions are fine, but the author is sublime, despite having arrived at London's South Bank Arts Center after a red-eye transatlantic flight. Morrison is genial, generous and gracious with her interlocutors, one of whom is only nine years old.

The Origins of Beloved
Morrison talks about the nonfiction incident that germinated the unforgettable and signifying act of Beloved, as well as the limited usefulness of anger as muse and her narrative design for the novel. To put the difficulty of writing into perspective Morrison tells the story of her grandmother leaving Alabama for the North with six children and 30 dollars and no set plan for what to do when she arrived. Morrison also reads three passages from Beloved, including the devastating section in which Sethe addresses the girl whom she takes to be her daughter (at Minute 35)--a gorgeous piece of audio.

The podcast lasts just over 50 minutes, and can be listened to online at the BBC's World Book Club archive, and also downloaded from the BBC's World Book Club iTunes feed here (this link may expire).