Alice Walker: Biography

Alice Walker

09 feb 1944

Alice Walker is most notable for her Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Color Purple, which addresses the themes of both feminism and racism in the experience of African-American women. Published in 1982, The Color Purple was Alice Walker’s fourth novel. Since that time, she has written another three novels, dealing with the same broad themes, and 9 collections of poetry. Alice Walker’s works have sold over 15 million copies worldwide, and she continues to write both poetry and prose today.

The themes of racism and feminism in The Color Purple are themes which run throughout Alice Walker’s writing. Her writing is strongly influenced by her experience growing up in the African-American farming community in Georgia. At the age of 8, Alice Walker was injured in the right eye by a pellet fired from her brother’s BB gun. Since her parents were too poor to be able to afford a car, by the time Walker was taken to the hospital she had become permanently blind in that eye. Alice Walker has since said that this helped her to develop her writing, as the experience of being an outsider encouraged her to observe and understand humans and human relationships.

Not just a writer, Alice Walker is also a prominent social activist. Alice Walker has travelled across the world, in order to stand up for the poor and oppressed. Walker coined the term ‘womanist’ which has come to express the experience of all women, regardless of position or colour. Alice Walker was married for 9 years, and is the mother of one daughter.