After college, Walker worked as a social worker, teacher and lecturer. She became active in the Civil Rights Movement, fighting for equality for all African Americans. Her experiences informed her first collection of poetry, Once, which was published in 1968. Better known now as a novelist, Walker showed her talents for storytelling in her debut work, Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970).
Walker continued to explore writing in all of its forms. In 1973, she published a set of short stories, In Love and Trouble; the poetry collection Revolutionary Petunias; and her first children's book,Langston Hughes: American Poet. She also emerged as a prominent voice in the black feminist movement.
The Color Purple
Walker's career as a writer took flight with the publication of her third novel, The Color Purple, in 1982. Set in the early 1900s, the novel explores the female African-American experience through the life and struggles of its narrator, Celie. Celie suffers terrible abuse at the hands of her father, and later, from her husband. The compelling work won Walker both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction in 1983.
Three years later, Walker's story made it to the big screen: Steven Spielberg directed The Color Purple, which starred Whoopi Goldberg as Celie, as well as Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover.
Like the novel, the movie was a critical success, receiving 11 Academy Award nominations. Walker explored her own feelings about the film in her 1996 work, The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult. In 2005, The Color Purple became a Broadway musical.
Walker incorporated characters and their relations from The Color Purple into two of her other novels: The Temple of My Familiar(1989) and Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992), which earned great critical praise and caused some controversy for its exploration of the practice of female genital mutilation.
Walker has proved time and time again to be a versatile writer. In 2004, she published Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart. Two years later, in 2006, she published a collection of essays, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Light in a Time of Darkness, and the well-received picture book There Is a Flower at the Tip of My Nose Smelling Me.
Continuing her work as a political activist, Walker also wrote about her experiences with the group Women for Women International in 2010's Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters the Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo and Palestine/Israel. She published another poetry collection, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing, that same year.
After more than four decades as a writer, Alice Walker shows no signs of slowing down. In 2012, she released The Chicken Chronicles; in this latest memoir, she ruminates on caring for her flock of chickens. Following the release of The Chicken Chronicles, she began working on The Cushion in the Road, a collection of mediations on a variety of subjects slated to be published in 2013.
Husband: Melvyn Roseman LeventhalJewish civil rights lawyer. They were married on March 17, 1967 in New York City. Later that year the couple relocated to Jackson, Mississippi, becoming "the first legally married inter-racial couple in Mississippi". They were harassed and threatened by whites, including the Ku Klux Klan. The couple had a daughter Rebecca in 1969. Walker and her husband divorced in 1976.
Born February 9, 1944
1984 - 1988
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