(The Root) — On June 4, the New York State Writers Hall of Fame will induct five outstanding authors, including Calvin Trillin, Alice McDermott, Walter Mosley, Marilyn Hacker and the late Countee Cullen.
2012’s honorees included E.L. Doctorow, Pete Hamill, Joyce Carol Oates and Toni Morrison, as well as John Cheever, Hart Crane, Edna Ferber, Washington Irving, Henry James, Mary McCarthy, Marianne Moore, Barbara W. Tuchman, Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Wright.
Each honoree is inducted personally with a few words by a friend or representative. At last year’s ceremony, Morrison was introduced by former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, reported the Reader’s Almanac:
Joyce and I have shared a friendship with Toni for many years and, as is true of everyone, we have been fans of her artistry since the beginning of her career … and have taken great pride in her accomplishments. You may know that our friendship began while undergraduates at Howard University—I was Class of 1950, and Joyce and Toni were in the Class of 1953.
Our friendship with Toni has evolved as much from how she has chosen to share her talents as it has from the pure talent itself. Her activism in the struggles for educational opportunity for young persons of color has earned her the respect and appreciation of parents everywhere … as she has encouraged their children’s dreams and stimulated their creativity by her example and her teachings.
After Howard, Toni went on to earn her master’s degree in English at Cornell University and she has taught her craft at her alma mater Howard and some other good schools—Yale and Princeton. Toni once said in a speech on values in higher education that: “What I think and do is already inscribed on my teaching, my work. And so should it be. We teach values by having them.”
The 2013 ceremony will be held at New York’s Princeton Club.