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Edward MacDowell Medalist, greets the cheers of the crowd on Sunday, August 14, 2016.
Edward MacDowell Medalist, greets the cheers of the crowd on Sunday, August 14, 2016..

Medal Day 2016

“I will tell you how I began to be a writer.” -- Toni Morrison

Nearly 2,400 arts lovers attended our largest Medal Day yet on August 14, 2016 to celebrate the literary and cultural contributions of Author Toni Morrison. The Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, editor, and professor became the 57th Edward MacDowell Medalist.

“If any writer could be called our nation’s conscience, that writer would be Toni Morrison,” said best-selling author Dave Eggers, chair of the Edward MacDowell Medal Selection Panel, and editor and founder of the literary publishing house McSweeney’s. Serving with Eggers on the selection panel were Marlon James, Man Booker Prize-winning author; Amy Tan, best-selling author of seven novels such as The Joy Luck Club and The Bonesetter’s Daughter; and MacDowell Fellow and Board Member Julie Orringer, author of the short-story collection How to Breathe Underwater and the novel The Invisible Bridge.

In his welcome address to the energized Medal Day crowd, MacDowell Chairman Michael Chabon spoke of the “Hard American Dream” depicted so variously in Toni Morrison’s novels.

You can read a transcript of his address here.

In his introduction of Toni Morrison, opera, theatre, and festival director Peter Sellars noted, “We read Toni’s books so personally, because in Toni’s books we find that part of ourselves that we didn’t know we could talk to before.”

You can read a transcript of Peter Sellars’ speech here.

And in accepting the Edward MacDowell Medal, Morrison told the gathered throng how it was she became a writer.

You can read a transcript of Toni Morrison’s acceptance here.

Since 1960, The MacDowell Colony has awarded the Edward MacDowell Medal to an artist of enduring vision and creativity. Find out about the medal’s proud history and its distinguished group of past winners.

You can watch our video of the events here

There is no charge to attend Medal Day.

Thanks to the generosity of our 2016 Medal Day Corporate Sponsors as well as our Individual Donors MacDowell is able to keep this annual event free and open to the public.