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Alice Malsenior Walker
(February 9, 1944 - living) U.S.A.

Alice Walker

Novelist

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Born in Eatonton, Georgia, to a sharecropper family, on Alice's mother's side, her great-grandmother Talluhah was mostly Cherokee Indian. She lost sight in her right eye due to an accident at age eight. She was shamed by her scar for many years, but an operation to remove it restored her self-confidence and she graduated at the top of her high school class.

Alice went on to Spellman College, where the administration did not look kindly on her involvement with the Civil Rights Movement. While at Sarah Lawrence College, from where she graduated in 1965, she traveled to Africa and began to write poetry.

Alice WalkerIn 1967 she married Melvyn R. Leventhal, a white civil rights lawyer - with whom she had a daughter - and with whom she divorced in 1976. She had relationships with women as well as with men. She herself used the term "womanist" as opposed to "feminist", to describe her work and position.

Her most famous novel, The Color Purple, was awarded Pulitzer prize and American Book Award 1983. Even after the book won the National Book Award and Walker was the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, she was vilified by some in her community.

Feminist, poet, critic and essay writer, she was active in the civil-rights movement in the USA in the 1960s and as a black woman has written about the double burden for women of racist and sexist oppression. In the February 1996 issue of Essence Magazine Walker states, "I am bisexual. I just live my life. I don't think I have to phone in and tell everybody." She actually lives in Mendocino, California.

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Source: excerpts from: Gabriele Griffin, Who's Who in Lesbian and Gay and Writing, Routledge, London, 2002 - et alii

Work:

  • Revolutionary Petunias
  • Meridian
  • You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down
  • In Search of Our Mother's Gardens
  • To Hell With Dying
  • The Temple of My Familiar
  • Possessing the Secret of Joy
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