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Alice Walker  

The author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, "The Color Purple", Alice Walker is a novelist, poet, short story writer, essayist and social activist.
Last Updated: May 10, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Alice Walker


Brief Biography

Born in 1944 in Eatonton, Georgia, Alice Walker is a Pulitzer Price winning novelist, poet, essayist and social/political activist.  She was the youngest child of a large family of eight childern.  Her parents were sharecroppers who were determined that their children attended school and not work in the fields.  At age eight, Walker sustained an injury to her eye that left her shy and withdrawn.  She sought solice in books and reading.  However, the injury left its mark: after a doctor removed the scar tissue from her eye six years later, she still felt like an outsider.  An excellent student she was her high school valedictorian.  She won a scholarship to Spelman College in Atlanta and became active in the civil rights movement.  She later transferred to Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she met Martin Luther King, Jr. and was recognized for her work on behalf of civil rights. After receiving her B.A. in 1965, Walker married a white civil rights attorney and moved to Jackson, Mississippi.  She worked for Head Start and also as writer in residence at Jackson State University.  She completed her first novel in 1969, the same year her only child was born.  When her marriage ended in 1977, she moved to northern California.   As her fame grew, she purchased homes elsewhere and renovated them to suit her needs.

Walker has taught African American women's studies at several colleges and universities.  She is a active supporter of antiwar and environmental causes and has strongly protested against rituals of female circumcision. She is an advocate for international women's rights.   During the late 1960's and 1970's , Walker published several volumes of poetry, novels and short stories.  In 1982, she published her most acclaimed novel, "The Color Purple."  It was quickly recognized by critics and the public as a  significant work.  The novel secured her literary reputation and won the Pulitzer prize for fiction.   The novel was made into a major motion picture in 1985, directed by Steven Spielberg.   A musical version appeared in 2004 and on Broadway in 2005.

Walker continued to write: "The Temple of My Familiar" (1989), "Possessing the Secret of Joy" (1992), "Now is the Time to Open Your Heart" ( 2004) and other works.  She is also the author of several works of nonfiction and a contributor to anthologies.  Now in her early 70's, Alice Walker is still very active as a writer and speaker.

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