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Alice Walker Biography

The biography of Alice Walker. This page has biographical information on Alice Walker, one of the best poets of all time. This PoetrySoup page also provides access to the poet's poems, best poetry, quotes, and video biographies...if available.

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An American author and feminist.. American author poet and activist


Alice Malsenior Walker (born February 9, 1944) is an American author and feminist.

Written work and topics

Walker's writings include novels, stories, essays and poems.

Topically, they focus on the struggles of African Americans, particularly women, and they witness against societies that are racist, sexist, and violent. Her writings also focus on the role of women of color in culture and history. Walker is a respected figure in the liberal political community for her support of unconventional and unpopular views as a matter of principle. She is openly bisexual, and sympathetic of people of all sexualities, ethnicities, and races.

Her first book of poetry was written while she was still a senior at Sarah Lawrence. She took a brief sabbatical from writing when she and Leventhal lived in Mississippi and worked in the U.S. civil rights movement.

Walker resumed her writing career when she joined Ms. Magazine. An article she published in 1975 was largely responsible for the renewal of interest in the work of Zora Neale Hurston. (In 1973, Walker and fellow Hurston scholar Charlotte D. Hunt discovered Hurston's unmarked grave in Ft. Pierce, FL. Both women paid for a modest headstone for the gravesite.)

In addition to her collected short stories and poetry, Walker's first work of fiction, "The Third Life of Grange Copeland", was published in 1970. In 1976, Walker's second novel, "Meridian", was published. The novel dealt with activist workers in the South during the civil rights movement, and closely paralleled some of Walker's own experiences.

In 1982, Walker would publish what has become her best-known work, the novel The Color Purple. The story of a young black woman fighting her way through not only racist white culture but patriarchial black culture was a resounding commercial success, and the immediacy of the characters and the story struck a nerve in readers, regardless of race, age, or gender. The book became a best seller, and was subsequently made into a 1985 movie as well as a 2005 Broadway musical play.

Walker subsequently wrote several other novels, "The Temple of My Familiar" and "Possessing The Secret of Joy". (These works included, among other protagonists, characters or descendants of characters from "The Color Purple".) and has published a number of collections of short stories, poetry, and other published work.

 

Political work and activism

Walker became a political activist, in part due to the influence of activist Howard Zinn, who was one of her professors at Spelman College. She spent several years in the 1960s working specifically as a civil rights activist, and continues to be an advocate for civil rights for all people.

She is active in environmental, feminist, and animal rights causes, and has campaigned against female genital mutilation.

She is also an advocate for the country of Cuba, and has spoken openly about ending the decades-long embargo against Cuba. Walker has visited Cuba on several occasions.

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