Toni Morrison receives Bellow lifetime achievement honor

Toni Morrison poses on September 21, 2012 during a reception sponsored by the US ambassador at his residence in Paris, as part of the 10th America Festival. 

Patrick Kovarik/AFP/GettyImages

NEW YORK -- Toni Morrison has received a lifetime achievement award from the PEN American Center.

Hundreds of people gathered Thursday night at the New School auditorium in Manhattan to recognize Morrison. The Nobel laureate received a prize named for a previous Nobel winner, the PEN/Saul Bellow Award.

The 90-minute event featured music from mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran and her husband, composer-pianist Jason Moran, along with readings of Morrison’s work by actors Adepero Oduye and Delroy Lindo.

The 85-year-old Morrison spoke briefly at the end of the evening and read an excerpt from a planned book, one that she says she’s determined to finish.