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La Vinia Jennings (left) receives prize from Toni Morrison (right). Photo: Alice Keeney

The book "Toni Morrison and the Idea of Africa" by La Vinia Jennings, associate professor of English, has won the Toni Morrison Society Book Prize for Best Single Authored Book. The prize is given to the book that represents the best original scholarship solely on Toni Morrison.

In announcing the award, the selection committee noted that Jennings’ findings brought, as one member put it, the "freshest critical perspective" of all the nominations, thus "providing new and useful interpretations of textual elements."

Another reviewer "came away from the text with renewed admiration for Morrison’s ability to encode so many layers and levels of fabulaic meaning."

One highlight for all of the reviewers was how the study filled a much-needed gap in Morrison studies with its rich presentation of African cultural materials.

The book was published by Cambridge University Press earlier this year.