Author Toni Morrison receives lifetime achievement award and says she is determined to finish new book

Updated: 

Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, the author of Beloved and The Bluest Eye, has been honoured with the lifetime achievement award from the PEN American Centre.

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

Toni Morrison signs copies of her latest book
(Bebeto Matthews/AP)

Hundreds of people gathered at the New School auditorium in New York to recognise Toni, who was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2012.

President Barack Obama awards author Toni Morrison with a Medal of Freedom
(Carolyn Kaster/AP)

The Nobel laureate received a prize named after 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 Toni's work by actors Adepero Oduye and Delroy Lindo.