Alice Walker, one of the US preeminent writers, is an award-winning author of novels, stories, essays, and poetry. In 1983, Walker became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her novel The Color Purple, which also won the National Book Award. In 1985 Steven Spielberg directed an Oscar-nominated film adaptation of the book.
Her other works include The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970), Meridian (1976), The Temple of My Familiar (1989), and Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992).
In her public life, Walker has worked to address problems of injustice, inequality, and poverty as an activist, teacher, and public intellectual.
Alice Walker was born in the small rural community of Eatonton in Georgia. Her parents were sharecroppers, which, in the post-civil war context for black Americans, was a continuation of slavery.
Despite the difficulties of growing up in the Deep South, Walker's mother, a seamstress, envisioned a better future for her daughter and enrolled her in school at the age of four.
She later attended Spelman College in Atlanta, where she actively participated in the civil rights movement. Then Alice transferred to Sarah Lawrence College in New York State, where she received another scholarship and participated in a student exchange program in Uganda.
Walker's experiences of poverty, racism, and sexism in the South, informed her writing, which often explores the experiences of African American women. Her first publication, a collection of poems Once (1968), was based on her own experiences of depression and anxiety. Her first novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970), explored the themes of family, violence, and identity in the African American community.
In 1976, Walker separated from her Jewish husband, Melvyn Leventhal, after the couple faced death threats for being an interracial couple. Walker's activism continued throughout her career, and her work often explores the intersection of race, gender, and class. In addition to The Color Purple, Walker has written numerous novels, essays, and short stories.
Today, Alice Walker is considered one of the most prominent writers of the 20th century, and her works have been translated into more than two dozen languages.
Alice Walker currently lives in Mendocino County, California.
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