Alice Walker

Alice Walker is one of America's most celebrated writers of literary fiction, but it is for her novel The Color Purple (1982) that she remains best known. Walker's third novel won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book ... Read more »
Born: 02/08/1944 in Eatonton, Georgia, USA

Filmography

other (21)

Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary 2013 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

In Prison My Whole Life 2006 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Oprah Winfrey's Legends' Ball 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Actor

Billie Holiday: Sensational Lady 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

Fidel 2002 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Tell About the South 1996 (Movie)

Interviewee (Actor)

Warrior Marks 1992 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Warrior Marks 1992 (Movie)

("presents") (Producer)

Warrior Marks 1992 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

A Place of Rage 1990 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Storytellers: The PEN Celebration 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

The Color Purple 1985 (Movie)

project consultant (Consultant)

The Color Purple 1985 (Movie)

("The Color Purple") (Source Material (from novel))

Diary of an African Nun 1976 (Movie)

(From Story)

KPFA on the Air (TV Show)

Narrator

Zora Is My Name! (TV Show)

Assistant

Biography

Alice Walker is one of America's most celebrated writers of literary fiction, but it is for her novel The Color Purple (1982) that she remains best known. Walker's third novel won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award and was made into a successful film of the same name by Steven Spielberg in 1985. Since then, Walker has written a number of novels, essays and books of poetry, and is also a highly-regarded activist and speaker.

Walker was born into the South during the Jim Crow era, but her mother valued education strongly. Blinded in one eye by her brother, who shot her with a pellet gun, Walker suffered bullying in school before graduating as the valedictorian and being voted the most popular girl. She attended the historic African-American Spelman College in Atlanta on a full scholarship and transferred to Sarah Lawrence two years later. Walker married civil rights lawyer Melvyn Roseman Leventhal and returned with him to Mississippi where they became the first legal interracial couple in the state. She gave birth to her only child, Rebecca, and published her first book of poetry, Once.

Walker went on to write two novels, The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970) and Meridian (1976), while working for Ms. magazine - Gloria Steinem was her daughter's godmother - but her landmark book The Color Purple arose amid personal upheaval. Walker had left her husband and not long after had fallen in love with editor Robert Allen; the two moved in together in California and she finished writing The Color Purple. The book primarily told the story of an African-American woman named Celie during the first part of the twentieth century and won both the Pulitzer Prize for Literature and the National Book Award. The book was also made into the successful film, "The Color Purple" (1985), directed by Steven Spielberg.

Walker's novels, nonfiction books and short story collections have included The Temple of My Familiar (1989), Possessing the Secret of Joy(1992) and We are the Ones we Have Been Waiting for (2006). In the early 1990s, after she and Allen broke up, she had a relationship with singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman. Walker and her daughter Rebecca, also a writer, became estranged amid Rebecca's charges that her mother's activism had led to her own neglect.

In 2004, "The Color Purple" premiered as a musical in Atlanta's Alliance Theater and the following year on Broadway where it won a Tony for best leading actress in a musical. Walker does not resent the early success of her third novel or the way it may have overshadowed her work, telling The Guardian in 2007, "I do like the way that I have been well taken care of by this particular story. It means that I can write any other story that I want to write, do whatever I want to, pretty much." In 2013, she released a book of poetry, The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness into Flowers and a nonfiction book, Cushion in the Road.

Relationships

Minnie

Mother

Robert Allen

Companion

Tracy Chapman

Ex-Companion

Melvyn Leventhal

Ex-Husband

Willie Walker

Father

EDUCATION

Spelman College

Atlanta , Georgia 1961

Sarah Lawrence College

Yonkers , New York 1965

Milestones

2013

Documentary on Walker's life, "Beauty in Truth," is released

2011

Published The Chicken Chronicles: Sitting with the Angels Who Have Returned with My Memories: Glorious, Rufus, Gertrude Stein, Splendor, Hortensia, Agnes of God, the Gladyses, & Babe: A Memoir

2005

"The Color Purple" debuted as hit Broadway musical produced by Scott Sanders, Quincy Jones, and Oprah Winfrey

2003

With director Bruce Schwartz, co-wrote short story adaptation "Everyday Use"

1993

Made feature producing debut with documentary "Warrior Marks"

1989

Wrote story for short film "Behind God's Back"

1985

Steven Spielberg directed critically acclaimed feature adaptation "The Color Purple," starring Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover

1983

Coined term "womanism" in debut non-fiction book In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose

1982

Wrote breakthrough novel The Color Purple; received 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and National Book Award for Fiction

1976

Second novel Meridian released

1973

Short story "Everyday Use" included in collection of writings "In Love and Trouble"

1969

Published debut novel The Third Life of Grange Copeland

Joined Ms. magazine as an editor

Met Martin Luther King Jr. while attending Spelman College in early 1960s

Bonus Trivia

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Is blind in one eye after being shot by her brother with a pellet gun as a child.

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She and Melvyn Roseman Leventhal were the first interracial couple in Mississippi to be legally married.

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"For me, writing has always come out of living a fairly to-the-bone kind of life, just really being present to a lot of life. The writing has been really a byproduct of that." - from Writer's Digest, August 31, 2010

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