Alice Walker

Alice Walker

Infobox Writer
name = Alice Walker

caption = Alice Walker
birthdate = birth date and age|1944|02|09
birthplace = Eatonton, Georgia, United States
deathdate =
deathplace =
occupation = novelist, short story writer, poet
genre = African American literature
notableworks = "The Color Purple"
influences = Howard Zinn, Zora Neale Hurston
influenced = Gayl Jones

Alice Malsenior Walker (born February 9, 1944) is an American author, self-declared feminist and womanist - the latter a term she herself coined to make special distinction for the experiences of women of color. She has written at length on issues of race and gender, and is most famous for the critically acclaimed novel "The Color Purple", for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Early life

Walker was born in Eatonton, Georgia, the eighth child of sharecroppers.cite news| last = Campbell| first = Duncan| coauthors =| title = A long walk to freedom| work =| pages =| language =| publisher = "The Observer"| date = 2001-02-25| url =,6000,442539,00.html| accessdate = 2007-06-14 ] As well as being African American, her family has Cherokee, Scottish and Irish lineage. ["Alice Walker: A Critical Companion" by Gerri Bates, ISBN 0-313-32024-1] Although she grew up in Georgia, she has stated that she often felt displaced there, and lives in Berkeley, California:

In her book "Alice Walker: A Life", author Evelyn C. White talks about an incident when Walker, who was eight years old at the time, was injured when her brother accidentally shot her in the eye with a BB gun. She became blind in her right eye as a result. In the book, White suggests this event had a large impact on Walker, especially when a white doctor in town swindled her parents out of $250 they paid to repair her injury. Walker refers to this incident in her book "Warrior Marks", a chronicle of female genital mutilation in Africa, and uses it to illustrate the sacrificial marks women bear that allow them to be "warriors" against female suppression.

Activism and marriage

After high school, Walker went to Spelman College in Atlanta on full scholarship in 1961 and later transferred up north to Sarah Lawrence College near New York City, graduating in 1965. Walker became interested in the U.S. civil rights movement in part due to the influence of activist Howard Zinn, who was one of her professors at Spelman College. Continuing the activism that she participated in during her college years, Walker returned to the South where she became involved with voter registration drives, campaigns for welfare rights, and children's programs in Mississippi.cite news| last = White| first = Evelyn C.| coauthors =| title = Alice Walker: On Finding Your Bliss; Interview by Evelyn C. White| work =| pages =| language =| publisher = Ms. Magazine| date = September/October 1999| url =| accessdate = 2007-06-14 ]

In 1965, Walker met and later married Mel Leventhal, a Jewish civil rights lawyer. They became the first legally married inter-racial couple in Mississippi.cite news| last =| first =| coauthors =| title = Inner Light in a Time of Darkness: A Conversation with Author and Poet Alice Walker| work =| pages =| language =| publisher = Democracy Now!| date = 2006-11-17| url =| accessdate = 2007-06-14 ] This brought them a steady stream of harassment and even murderous threats from the Ku Klux Klan. The couple had a daughter, Rebecca in 1969, but divorced eight years later, in 1977.

Writing career and success

Walker's first book of poetry was written while she was still a senior at Sarah Lawrence, and she took a brief sabbatical from writing when she was in Mississippi working in the civil rights movement. Walker resumed her writing career when she joined "Ms." magazine as an editor before moving to northern California in the late 1970s. An article she published in 1975 was largely responsible for the renewal of interest in the work of Zora Neale Hurston, who was a large source of inspiration for Walker's writing and subject matter. In 1973, Walker and fellow Hurston scholar Charlotte D. Hunt discovered Hurston's unmarked grave in Ft. Pierce, Florida. Both women paid for a modest headstone for the gravesite. [ [ Extract from "Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer's Activism" by Alice Walker published by "The Women's Press Ltd", 1997] ]

In addition to her collected short stories and poetry, Walker's first novel, "The Third Life of Grange Copeland", was published in 1970. In 1976, Walker's second novel, "Meridian", was published. The novel dealt with activist workers in the South during the civil rights movement, and closely paralleled some of Walker's own experiences.

In 1982, Walker would publish what has become her best-known work, the novel "The Color Purple". The story of a young black woman fighting her way through not only racist white culture but patriarchal black culture was a resounding commercial success. The book became a bestseller and was subsequently adapted into a critically acclaimed 1985 movie as well as a 2005 Broadway musical play.

Walker has written several other novels, including "The Temple of My Familiar" and "Possessing the Secret of Joy" (which featured several characters and descendants of characters from "The Color Purple") and has published a number of collections of short stories, poetry, and other published work.

Her works typically focus on the struggles of African Americans, particularly women, and their struggle against a racist, sexist, and violent society. Her writings also focus on the role of women of color in culture and history. Walker is a respected figure in the liberal political community for her support of unconventional and unpopular views as a matter of principle.

Additionally, Walker has published several short stories, including the 1973 "Everyday Use: for your grandmama." This story contains Walker's traditional subjects of feminism and racism against African Americans. [Walker, Alice. "Everyday Use." Perrine's Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense. Comp. Thomas R. Arp. New York: Harcourt Brace College, 1994. 90-97.]

Personal life

She has one child, Rebecca Walker, from her marriage to Mel Leventhal, a Jewish Civil Rights activist/ lawyer. Rebecca is also an author and in 2000 published a memoir titled "Black White and Jewish", chronicling her parents' relationship and how it negatively affected her childhood.cite web|url=|title=The day feminist icon Alice Walker resigned as my mother|accessdate=2008-01-07|format=|work= ] Walker and her daughter are currently estranged. Daughter Rebecca reports Walker wrote that their "relationship had been inconsequential for years, and that she was no longer interested in being my mother." [ [ How my mother's fanatical views tore us apart] ] Walker is a vegan. [ [ Famous Vegetarians - Alice Walker] ]

Musician/Comedian Reggie Watts is Walker's second cousin. [cite news| last = Teagarden| first = Rebecca| coauthors =| title = Reggie Watts| Stage presence| work =| pages =| language =| publisher = "The Seattle Times"| date = 2004-12-19| url =| accessdate = 2007-06-14 ]

Walker discussed her love affair with singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman in a December 2006 interview with "The Guardian", explaining why they did not go public with their relationship, saying " [the relationship] was delicious and lovely and wonderful and I totally enjoyed it and I was completely in love with her but it was not anybody's business but ours."cite news| last =| first =| coauthors =| title = No Retreat| work =| pages =| language =| publisher = The Guardian| date = 2006-12-15| url =,,1972800,00.html| accessdate = 2007-06-14 ]

Awards and other recognition

In 1983, "The Color Purple" won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making Walker the first African-American woman to win, as well as the National Book Award.

Walker also won the 1986 O. Henry Award for her short story "Kindred Spirits", published in "Esquire magazine" in August of 1985.

In 1997 she was honored by the American Humanist Association as "Humanist of the Year"

She has also received a number of other awards for her body of work, including:
* The Lillian Smith Award from the National Endowment for the Arts
* The Rosenthal Award from the National Institute of Arts & Letters
* The Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, the Merrill Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship
* The Front Page Award for Best Magazine Criticism from the Newswoman's Club of New York

On December 6, 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Alice Walker into the California Hall of Fame located at The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts.

elected works

Novels and short story collections

* "The Third Life of Grange Copeland" (1970)
* "Everyday Use" (1973)
* "In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women" (1973)
* "Roselily" (1973)
* "Meridian" (1976)
* "The Color Purple" (1982)
* "You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories" (1982)
* "Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self (1983)
* "Am I Blue?" (1986)
* "To Hell With Dying" (1988)
* "The Temple of My Familiar" (1989)
* "Finding the Green Stone" (1991)
* "Possessing the Secret of Joy" (1992)
* "The Complete Stories" (1994)
* "By The Light of My Father's Smile" (1998)
* "The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart" (2000)
* "Now Is The Time to Open Your Heart" (2005)
* "Devil's My Enemy" {2008}

Poetry collections

* "Once" (1968)
* "Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems" (1973)
* "Good Night, Willie Lee, I'll See You in the Morning" (1979)
* "Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful" (1985)
* "Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems" (1991)
* "Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth" (2003)
* "A Poem Traveled Down My Arm: Poems And Drawings" (2003)
* "Collected Poems" (2005)
* "Poem at Thirty-Nine"


* "In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose" (1983)
* "Living by the Word" (1988)
* "Warrior Marks" (1993)
* "The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult" (1996)
* "Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer's Activism" (1997)
* "Go Girl!: The Black Woman's Book of Travel and Adventure" (1997)
* "Pema Chodron and Alice Walker in Conversation" (1999)
* "Sent By Earth: A Message from the Grandmother Spirit After the Bombing of the World Trade Center and Pentagon" (2001)
* "Women
* "We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For" (2006)
* "Mississippi Winter IV

Works about Alice Walker

* "Alice Walker: A Life", Evelyn C. White, Norton, 2004She opened her own bookstore with all her books in it in 2005.

ee also

* African-American literature


External links

* [ The Sabanci University School of Languages Podcasts: The World in Alice Walker's Eye]
* [ Poem: A Mother's Day Plea]
* [ Living By Grace]
* [ Alice Walker on]
* [ New Georgia Encyclopedia]
* [ Interview with Alice Walker by ascent magazine]
* [ Shambhala Sun Magazine Interview]


* [ "Alice Walker on the 'Toxic Culture' of Globalization"] , from "Democracy Now!" program, October 27, 2004
* [ "'I am a Renegade, an Outlaw, a Pagan' - Author, Actress, Poet and Activist Alice Walker in Her Own Words"] , interview from "Democracy Now!" program, February 13, 2006
* [ "Alice Walker in Black and White"]

NAME= Walker, Alice Malsenior
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Eatonton, Georgia, United States
SHORT DESCRIPTION= American novelist, short story writer, poet
DATE OF BIRTH= February 9..............., 1944

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  • Alice Walker — (Oktober 2007) Alice Malsenior Walker (* 9. Februar 1944 in Eatonton, Georgia) ist eine US amerikanische Schriftstellerin und politische Aktivistin. International bekannt wurde sie vor allem als Autorin des Romans Die Farbe Lila, der 1983 mit dem …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alice Walker — Alice Walker. Alice Malsenior Walker (nacida el 9 de febrero de 1944) es una escritora afroamericana y feminista que recibió el Premio Pulitzer a la obra de ficción en 1983 por la novela El color púrpura, en la que se basó la película del mismo… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Alice Walker — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Walker. Alice Walker. Alice Malsenior Walker (née le 9 février 1944), est une écrivaine et une militante féministe américaine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Alice Walker — ➡ Walker * * * …   Universalium

  • Alice Walker — noun United States writer (born in 1944) • Syn: ↑Walker, ↑Alice Malsenior Walker • Instance Hypernyms: ↑writer, ↑author …   Useful english dictionary

  • Alice Malsenior Walker — Alice Walker Pour les articles homonymes, voir Walker. Alice Walker. Alice Malsenior Walker (née le 9 février 1944), est une écriv …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Alice Malsenior Walker — Alice Walker (Oktober 2007) Alice Malsenior Walker (* 9. Februar 1944 in Eatonton, Georgia) ist eine US amerikanische Schriftstellerin und politische Aktivistin. International bekannt wurde sie vor allem als Autorin des Romans Die Farbe Lila, der …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Walker (surname) — Walker is a surname of English origin. In English, the name comes from the medieval profession of a ‘walker’, a person who trod on woollen cloth in a bath of Fuller s earth, and sometimes urine, in order to thicken the fibres and ready the cloth… …   Wikipedia

  • Walker (Familienname) — Walker ist ein Familienname. Bekannte Namensträger Inhaltsverzeichnis A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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