Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison is America’s first lady of literature. Her books encompass black American history but live and breathe in the present, rich in vivid characters, haunted by ghosts. Born poor in Ohio in 1931, she passed yesterday at the age of 88 from pneumonia. She tells Alan Yentob how her father hated whites so much he wouldn’t let them in the house. Her masterpiece, Beloved, shows the horrors of slavery perhaps better than any other artwork. She talks as she writes – with warmth and wit.