Book of the Month – September 2018

Hay Festival September Book of the Month

Toni Morrison's Beloved

It is the mid-1800s and as slavery looks to be coming to an end, Sethe is haunted by the violent trauma it wrought on her former enslaved life at Sweet Home, Kentucky. Her dead baby daughter, whose tombstone bears the single word, Beloved, returns as a spectre to punish her mother, but also to elicit her love. First published in 1987, Beloved is Toni Morrison’s enduring masterpiece, told with heart-stopping clarity, melding horror and beauty.

Buy the book

Watch again on Hay Player

Further reading...

Toni Morrison's novel Beloved wins the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction (New York Times, 1988)

Jane Smiley on why Beloved has endured (The Guardian, 2006)

75 Beloved covers from around the world (Lit Hub, 2017)

Can we find paradise on earth? Toni Morrison writes for the Daily Telegraph's Hay Festival special in 2014 (Daily Telegraph, 2014)

About the author

Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She is the author of many novels, including The Bluest Eye, Beloved (made into a major film), Paradise and Love. She has also received the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize for her fiction.

About Hay Festival's Book of the Month

Hay Festival's Book of the Month is our monthly recommendation of a title we've loved and think holds added resonance today. While many recommendations celebrate the new, this is a chance to celebrate great works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry – new and old – that reaches through time to touch the present.

Throughout the month, we'll share interesting links and articles relating to our selection on social media using #HayBookOfTheMonth and invite you all to get involved with your questions and comments.

Over on Hay Player, a special playlist of talks to view online offer additional perspectives on the books from some of the greatest writers and thinkers around the world.

If you'd like to recommend a book for consideration, please email

Happy reading!

Toni Morrison talks to Hay Festival audience