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Alice Walker
Alice Walker Alice Walker


Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker is best known for her stories about African American women who achieve heroic stature within the borders of their ordinary day-to-day lives Alice Malsenior Walker was born on February 9, 1944, in Eatonton, Georgia, to Willie Lee and Minnie Tallulah (Grant) Walker Like many of Walker's fictional characters, she was the daughter of a sharecropper (a farmer who rents his land), and the youngest of eight children At age eight, Walker was accidentally injured by a BB gun shot to her eye by her brother Her partial blindness caused her to withdraw from normal childhood activities and begin writing poetry to ease her loneliness She found that writing demanded peace and quiet, but these were difficult things to come by when ten people lived in four rooms She spent a great deal of time working outdoors sitting under a tree Walker attended segregated (separated by race) schools which would be described as inferior by current standards, yet she recalled that she had terrific teachers who encouraged her to believe the world she was reaching for actually existed Although Walker grew up in a poor environment, she was supported by her community and by the knowledge that she could choose her own identity Moreover, Walker insisted that her mother granted her "permission" to be a writer and gave her the social, spiritual, and moral substance for her stories.

Upon graduating from high school, Walker secured a scholarship to attend Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she got involved in the growing Civil Rights movement, a movement which called for equal rights among all races In 1963, Walker received another scholarship and transferred to Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she completed her studies and graduated in 1965 with a bachelor's degree While at Sarah Lawrence, she spent her junior year in Africa as an exchange student After graduation she worked with a voter registration drive in Georgia and the Head Start program (a program to educate poorer children) in Jackson, Mississippi It was there she met, and in 1967 married, Melvyn Leventhal, a civil rights lawyer Their marriage produced one child, Rebecca, before ending in divorce in 1976 In 1968, Walker published her first collection of poetry, Once Walker's teaching and writing careers overlapped during the 1970s She served as a writer-in-residence and as a teacher in the Black Studies program at Jackson State College in Tennessee (1968–69) and Tougaloo College in Mississippi (1970–71) While teaching she was at work on her first novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970), which was assisted by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts (1969; a government program to provide money to artists).

She then moved north and taught at Wellesley College, in Massachusetts, and the University of Massachusetts at Boston (both 1972–73) In 1973 her collection of short stories, In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women, and a collection of poetry, Revolutionary Petunias, appeared She received a Radcliffe Institute scholarship (1971–73), a Rosenthal Foundation award, and an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters award (both in 1974) for In Love and Trouble In 1976 Walker's second novel, Meridian, was published, followed by a Guggenheim award (in 1977–1978) In 1979 another collection of poetry, Goodnight, Willie Lee, I'll See You in the Morning, was published, followed the next year by another collection of short stories, You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down (1980) Walker's third novel, The Color Purple was published in 1982, and this work won both a Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award the following year Walker was also a contributor to several periodicals and in 1983 published many of her essays, a collection titled In Search of Our Mother's Gardens: A Collection of Womanist Prose (1983) Walker worked on her fourth novel while living in Mendocino County outside San Francisco, California Walker's first novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland, centers on the life of a young African American girl, Ruth Copeland, and her grandfather, Grange As an old man, Grange learns that he is free to love, but love does not come without painful responsibility.

At the climax of the novel, Grange summons his newly found knowledge to rescue his granddaughter, Ruth, from his brutal son, Brownfield The rescue demands that Grange murder his son in order to stop the cycle of cruelty Walker's third and most famous novel, The Color Purple, is about Celie, a woman so down and out that she can only tell God her troubles, which she does in the form of letters Poor, black, female, alone and uneducated, held down by class and gender, Celie learns to lift herself up from sexual exploitation and brutality with the help of the love of another woman, Shug Avery Against the backdrop of Celie's letters is another story about African customs This evolves from her sister Nettie's letters which Celie's husband hid from Celie over the course of twenty years Here, Walker presented problems of women bound within an African context, encountering many of the same problems that Celie faces Both Celie and Nettie are restored to one another, and, most important, each is restored to herself At the time of publication of Walker's first novel (in 1970), she said in a Library Journal interview that, for her, "family relationships are sacred" Indeed, much of Walker's work describes the emotional, spiritual, and physical devastation that occurs when family trust is betrayed.

Her focus is on African American women, who live in a larger world and struggle to achieve independent identities beyond male domination Although her characters are strong, they are, nevertheless, vulnerable Their strength resides in their acknowledged debt to their mothers, to their sensuality, and to their friendships among women These strengths are celebrated in Walker's work, along with the problems women encounter in their relationships with men who regard them as less significant than themselves merely because they are women What comes out of this belief is, of course, violence Hence Walker's stories focus not so much on the racial violence that occurs among strangers but the violence among friends and family members, a kind of deliberate cruelty, unexpected but always predictable Walker began her exploration of the terrors that beset African American women's lives in her first collection of short stories, In Love and Trouble Here she examined the stereotypes about their lives that misshape them and misguide perceptions about them Her second short story collection, You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down, dramatizes the strength of African American women to rebound despite racial, sexual, and economic difficulties.

Alice Walker on Taking the Arrow Out of Your Heart
Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, shares her perspective on cultivating resilience and equanimity by mindfully tending to painful wounds caused by sorrow, anger or despair. This event...
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Profile: Alice Walker
"So in the end you can't even really regret your misfortunes," explains the beloved author Alice Walker, "because they led you somewhere." Walker speaks from experience. From growing up poor...
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TEDxRamallah - Alice Walker آليس ووكر - How I Learned to Grow a Global Heart
Alice Walker is world renown for her fiction, poetry, essays, and human rights activism. Her fiction, in particular her novels, have established her as a canonical figure in American letters,...
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An Evening with Alice Walker
Celebrate our exhibition We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 with acclaimed poet, novelist, activist, and Pulitzer Prize–winning author Alice Walker in this intimate lecture...
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Alice Walker - Home 2012 Contact Alice at or visit and her i-tunes at Alice Walker sings 'Home' direct...
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Alice Walker Documentary
English Documentary.
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Holland Doc 2013 Alice Walker, beauty in truth 20131016
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A Conversation with Alice Walker, Morton Theatre Oct. 15, 2015
A Conversation with Alice Walker, Oct. 15, 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker is interviewed by Professor Valerie Boyd in the historic Morton Theatre in downtown Athens, Georgia....
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Alice Walker Q&A discussion: Beauty In Truth
This year's WOW Festival included the world exclusive premiere of 'Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth', a feature documentary film directed by Pratibha Parmar about the life and art of the Pulitzer...
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Alice Walker | Talks at Google
In October, 2010, Alice Walker joined Googlers in Mountain View for a day of conversation and readings from her latest book of poetry, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing. "[This] collection...
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Alice Walker: Keeping a Healthy Soul
Walker recommends the soul-healing power of a practice like mediation or art to combat mental suffering. Growing up in the South prior to and during the Civil Rights Movement, had a major...
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Alice Walker, Broken Things
Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize winner and internationally known Georgia-born author and activist, opened her archives at Emory University in April 2009. The event was celebrated by an exhibition,...
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Alice Walker talks about self perception and love in Zora Neale Hurstons work
After 75 years, Zora Neale Hurston's novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God," still resonates in the hearts and minds of contemporary audiences, but it had particular significance for black women...
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An Interview with Alice Walker
In this BBC interview, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Alice Walker, describes a childhood experience and the thoughts it triggered about poverty, rage, oppression, sexism, and misogyny that...
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Alice Walker interview (1993)
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker explains her preoccupation with the practice of female genital mutilation, which is the subject of her last novel, "Possessing the Secret of Joy,"...
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Writers Uncensored: Alice Walker: The Color Purple
The Lannan Foundation Presents Writers Uncensored: Spring 1991 #62 Internationally acclaimed author Alice Walker talks about growing up poor in rural Georgia and the experiences that led...
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Langston Hughes - Life and Times with Alice Walker
Alice Walker and other scholars of the Harlem Renaissance discuss the life and work of Langston Hughes, his impact and lasting legacy.
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The Color Purple: Alice Walker on Her Classic Novel, Speilbergs Film, and the Broadway Adaptation
Alice Walker discusses the birth of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Steven Spielberg's big-screen version, and her thoughts on the musical adaptation.
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Democratic Womanism A Poem by Alice Walker
With less than 40 days to go before the 2012 presidential election, poet and activist Alice Walker reads her new poem, "Democratic Womanism." "You ask me why I smile when you tell me you intend...
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Alice Walker on The Color Purple: Racism, Violence Against Women Are Global Issues - On the 30th anniversary of the publication of "The Color Purple," we speak with author, poet and activist Alice Walker about her groundbreaking novel and its enduring legacy....
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