- As a writer reading, I came to realize the obvious: the subject of the dream is the dreamer.
- As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.
- Birth, life, and death — each took place on the hidden side of a leaf.
- Bryn Mawr had done what a four-year dose of liberal education was designed to do: unfit her for eighty per cent of useful work of the world. Song of Solomon (1977)
- Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown. In my heart it don't mean a thing.
- Her mind traveled crooked streets and aimless goat paths, arriving sometimes at profundity, other times at the revelations of a three-year-old. Song of Solomon (1977)
- I really think the range of emotions and perceptions I have had access to as a black person and as a female person are greater than those of people who are neither.... So it seems to me that my world did not shrink because I was a black female writer. It just got bigger.
- I want to write for people like me, which is to say black people, curious people, demanding people — people who can't be faked, people who don't need to be patronized, people who have very, very high criteria.
- I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.
- If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.
- Variant: If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, you must be the one to write it.
- If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it. Song of Solomon (1977) (last page)
- If you're going to hold someone down you're going to have to hold on by the other end of the chain. You are confined by your own repression.
- In Tar Baby, the classic concept of the individual with a solid, coherent identity is eschewed for a model of identity which sees the individual as a kaleidoscope of heterogeneous impulses and desires, constructed from multiple forms of interaction with the world as a play of difference that cannot be completely comprehended.
- Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all. Beloved (1987)
- Most of our lives are spent in little towns, little towns all throughout the country. That's where we live. And that's where the juices come from and that's where we made it, not made it in terms of success but made who we are.
- She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind. Beloved (1987)
- She is a friend of my mind... The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.
- The loneliest woman in the world is the woman without a close woman friend.
- When I write, I don't translate for white readers... Dostoevski wrote for a Russian audience, but we're able to read him. If I'm specific, and I don't overexplain, then anyone can overhear me.
- When there is pain, there are no words. All pain is the same.