Toni Morrison, renowned author of “Sula” and “Beloved,” was named by the White House as one of this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients.

The award, the nation’s highest civilian honor, is presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors, according to the White House.

Morrison is among 12 other recipients of the award this year. Additional honorees include former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, singer Bob Dylan and civil rights advocate Dolores Huerta.

“These extraordinary honorees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our Nation,” President Obama said in a statement. “They’ve challenged us, they’ve inspired us, and they’ve made the world a better place. I look forward to recognizing them with this award.”

In 1993, Morrison made history becoming the first African-American woman to win a Nobel Prize. She is widely known for her acclaimed works, “Song of Solomon,” “Jazz” and “Beloved,” the latter winning her a Pulitzer Prize in 1988. A decade later, the novel was transformed into a movie starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover.

In a statement, Obama described Morrison as an author “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.” According to EUR Web, the 81-year-old author recently released a new book titled, “Home.”

The 2012 Medal of Freedom Honorees will be awarded at the White House in late Spring. According to the U.S. Senate’s website, past recipients of the prestigious honor include Maya Angelou, Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby.