Facts about Alice Walker

Alice Walker is 80 years old
Best known as: The author of The Color Purple

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Alice Walker Biography

Alice Walker wrote The Color Purple, the 1982 novel that won the Pulitzer Prize and was made into a Steven Spielberg movie starring Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg.

Though it was a novel that brought her greatest fame, Walker is recognized more as a poet and essayist.

From a poor, rural family in Georgia, Walker attended Spelman College in Atlanta on a rehabilitation scholarship. She had been blinded in one eye at the age of 8, when her brother accidentally shot her with a pellet gun.

She attended Spelman from 1961 until 1963, when she transferred to Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Walker graduated from Sarah Lawrence in 1965.

Alice Walker was a civil rights activist as a young woman in the American south, and an editor at Ms. magazine in the 1970s.

The Color Purple tells the story of Celie, a poor black Georgia woman who struggles to overcome childhood traumas and achieve a sense of pride and self-worth.

Walker’s volumes of poetry include Once (1968), Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems (1973), Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful (1984) and Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth: New Poems (2003). Her other books include Now is the Time to Open Your Heart (2005) and Why War is Never a Good Idea (2007).

Extra credit

Alice Walker was married to Melvyn Leventhal from 1967-77. They had one daughter, Rebecca, in 1969.


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