By Emily Langer

Toni Morrison, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist who conjured a black girl longing for blue eyes, a slave mother who kills her child to save her from bondage and other indelible characters who helped transfigure a literary canon long closed to African Americans, died Aug. 5 at a hospital in the Bronx. She was 88.

Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for the publishing company Alfred A. Knopf, announced the death and said the cause was complications from pneumonia.

Ms. Morrison spent an impoverished childhood in Ohio steel country, began writing during what she described as stolen time as a single mother and became the first black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in literature. Critically acclaimed and widely loved, she received recognitions as diverse as the Pulitzer Prize and the selection of her novels — four of them — for the book club led by talk-show host Oprah Winfrey.

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