Miss Chloe: A Memoir of a Literary Friendship with Toni Morrison
If you let a black girl loose in a library, you may not recognize the woman who emerges. –from Miss Chloe
Toni Morrison, born Chloe A Wofford, was a towering figure in the world of literature when she entered A.J. Verdelle’s life. Their literary friendship was a young writer’s dream–simultaneously exhilarating, intimidating, fulfilling, and challenging. The relationship crossed generations, spanned several cycles in life, exhibited high and low notes, reached and dipped and found its way. Like many women friends, these two writers imagined and built a relationship that was responsive, inventive, and engaged.
Miss Chloe powerfully situates the risks writers face and the freedom they find when they put Black women’s lives into words. Verdelle chronicles her grief at Morrison’s passing, and finds comfort in Morrison’s astute advice–wisdom Verdelle didn’t always recognize at the time. In this pensive and intricately lyrical book, Verdelle honors Morrison among the cultural greats, while illuminating and celebrating the power of language, legacy, and genius.
A. J. Verdelle is the award-winning author of the novel, The Good Negress. She teaches Creative Writing at Morgan State University and at the MFA program at Lesley University.
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May 10, 2022