Alice Walker is an American author, poet, and activist, best known for her novel “The Color Purple,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1983. Born on February 9, 1944, in Putnam County, Georgia, Walker grew up in a family of sharecroppers and was the youngest of eight children. She began writing at an early age and became involved in the civil rights movement during the 1960s.
Walker attended Spelman College in Atlanta, where she became active in the civil rights movement and was mentored by Howard Zinn. She later transferred to Sarah Lawrence College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English. Walker went on to receive a master’s degree in African American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Walker’s literary career began in the 1960s with the publication of her first collection of poetry, “Once,” in 1968. She has since published numerous works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, including “Meridian,” “The Third Life of Grange Copeland,” “Possessing the Secret of Joy,” and “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose.”
Walker is known for her commitment to social justice and has been a vocal advocate for civil rights, feminism, and environmentalism. She was an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement, working alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and participating in voter registration drives in Georgia. She also played a key role in the Black Feminist Movement and coined the term “womanist” to describe a feminist of color.
Walker’s work often explores themes of race, gender, and sexuality, as well as the intersectionality of these identities. She has been recognized with numerous awards for her literary contributions, including the National Book Award, the O. Henry Award, and the Lillian Smith Award. She has also been awarded honorary degrees from several universities, including Harvard, Yale, and Columbia.
In addition to her literary career, Walker is also an accomplished painter and has exhibited her artwork in galleries around the world. She continues to be a prominent voice for social justice and environmental activism, and her work has inspired generations of writers and activists.