"Toni Morrison's work shows us through pain all the myriad ways we can come to love," says Winfrey

By Alexia Fernandez
April 30, 2019 10:00 AM
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Toni Morrison’s books have brought the African-American experience to the forefront of literature — and Oprah Winfrey is honoring the author in a new documentary about her life.

In a PEOPLE exclusive look at the trailer for Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, the 88-year-old author opens up about her life growing up and discovering the magic of books.

“My grandfather bragged all the time that he read the Bible,” Morrison, 88, said. “Ultimately I knew that words have power.”

Winfrey, 65, is just one of the people interviewed about the author in the documentary, having featured several of Morrison’s books, including her 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved, on her TV show. Winfrey starred in the 1998 film adaptation of the classic book.

“Toni Morrison’s work shows us through pain all the myriad ways we can come to love,” Winfrey said. “That is what she does. With some words on a page.”

Oprah Winfrey and Toni Morrison
Daniel Boczarski/FilmMagic

The documentary also touches on Morrison’s career, including her time as a book editor at Random House — which was dominated by white men at the time.

“Navigating a white male world was not threatening, it wasn’t even interesting,” Morrison said. “I was more interesting than they were. And I wasn’t afraid to show it.”

The documentary, directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, also features Angela Davis, Hilton Als, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez and Farah Griffin.

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am is in theaters June 21.