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Biography and Awards

American Masters - Alice Walker: Beauty in TruthAlice Walker has been defined as one of the key international writers’ of the 20th century. Walker made history as the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Literature as well as the National Book Award in 1983 for her novel “The Color Purple,” one of the few literary books to capture the popular imagination and leave a permanent imprint. The award-winning novel served as the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film and was adapted for the stage, opening at New York City’s Broadway Theatre in 2005, and capturing a Tony Award for best leading actress in a musical in 2006.

An internationally celebrated author, poet and activist, Walker’s books include seven novels, four collections of short stories, four children’s books, and volumes of essays and poetry. Walker has written many additional best sellers; among them, Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992), which detailed the devastating effects of female genital mutilation and led to the 1993 documentary Warrior Marks, a collaboration with the British-Indian filmmaker Pratibha Parmar, with Walker as executive producer. Walker’s work has been translated into more than two-dozen languages, and her books have sold more than fifteen million copies.

Walker has served as jurist, 2010 and 2012, for two sessions of The Russell Tribunal on Palestine – Cape Town, South Africa, and New York, NYC. Walker writes a regular blog on her author’s website:

Selected Awards and Honors

(1967) Ingram Merrill Foundation Fellowship

(1967) The Rosenthal Award from the National Institute of Arts & Letters

(1973) The Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, the Merrill Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship

(1978) The Lillian Smith Award from the National Endowment for the Arts

(1983) The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the novel The Color Purple

(1983) National Book Award for Fiction for The Color Purple

(1985) O. Henry Award for Kindred Spirits

(1995) Honorary Degree from the California Institute of the Arts

(1997) Named by the American Humanist Association as “Humanist of the Year”

The Front Page Award for Best Magazine Criticism from the Newswoman’s Club of New York

(2001) Walker inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.

(2006) Induction to the California Hall of Fame in The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts

(2007) Domestic Human Rights Award from Global Exchange

(2007) Walker’s archives were opened to the public at Emory University

(2010) The LennonOno Grant for Peace Award. Walker presented the keynote address at The 11th Annual Steve Biko Lecture at the University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, and was awarded the Lennon/Ono Grant for Peace, in Reykjavik, Iceland. Walker went on to donate the financial award to an orphanage, for the children of AIDS victims in Kenya, East Africa.

Alice Walker Novels and Short Stories, Selected Works

(1970) The Third Life of Grange Copeland

(1973) In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women

(1973) Everyday Use

(1976) Meridian

(1981) You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down

(1982) The Color Purple

(1982) You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories

(1988) To Hell With Dying

(1989) The Temple of My Familiar

(1991) Finding the Green Stone

(1992) Possessing the Secret of Joy

(1994) The Complete Stories

(1998) By The Light of My Father’s Smile

(1989) The Temple of My Familiar

(2000) The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart

(2000, 194) The Complete Stories

(2004) Now Is The Time to Open Your Heart

Alice Walker Poetry Collections

(1965, 1991) Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965-1990

(1968) Once

(1973) Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems

(1979) Good Night, Willie Lee, I’ll See You in the Morning

(1985) Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful

(2001) Sent by Earth: A Message from Grandmother Spirit after the Attack on the World Trade Centre

(2003) Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth

(2003) A Poem Traveled Down My Arm: Poems And Drawings

(2005) Collected Poems

(2005) Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: New Poems

(2013) The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness into Flowers

Alice Walker Non-Fiction Books

(1974, 2002) Langston Hughes, American Poet

(1983) In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose

(1988) Living by the Word

(1993) Warrior Marks: female genital mutilation and the sexual blinding of women

(1996) The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult; A Mediation of Life, Spirit, Art and the Making of The Color Purple

(1997) Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer’s Activism

(2000) The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart

(2004) Now Is The Time to Open Your Heart

(2006) We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For

(2010) Overcoming Speechlessness : A Poet Encounters the Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo and Palestine/Israel

(2011) The Chicken Chronicles: Sitting With the Angels Who Have Returned With My Memories, a Memoir

(2013) The Cushion in the Road: Meditation and Wandering as the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm’s Way


(1979) I Love Myself when I’m Laughing… and Then Again when I Am Looking Mean and Impressive: A Zora Neale Hurston Reader, introduction by Mary Helen Washington (Editor)

(Various) Contributor to anthologies, including Voices of the Revolution, edited by Helen Haynes, E. & J. Kaplan (Philadelphia, PA), 1967; The Best Short Stories by Negro Writers from 1899 to the Present: An Anthology, edited by Langston Hughes, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1967; Afro-American Literature: An Introduction, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1971; Tales and Stories for Black Folks, compiled by Toni Cade Bambara, Zenith Books (New York, NY), 1971; Black Short Story Anthology, compiled by Woodie King, New American Library (New York, NY), 1972; The Poetry of Black America: An Anthology of the Twentieth Century, compiled by Arnold Adoff, Harper (New York, NY), 1973; A Rock against the Wind: Black Love Poems, edited by Lindsay Patterson, Dodd (New York, NY), 1973; We Be Word Sorcerers: Twenty-five Stories by Black Americans, edited by Sonia Sanchez, Bantam (New York, NY), 1973; Images of Women in Literature, compiled by Mary Anne Ferguson, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1973; Best American Short Stories: 1973, edited by Margaret Foley, Hart-Davis, 1973; Best American Short Stories, 1974, edited by M. Foley, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1974; Chants of Saints: A Gathering of Afro-American Literature, Art and Scholarship, edited by Michael S. Harper and Robert B. Stepto, University of Illinois Press (Chicago, IL), 1980; Midnight Birds: Stories of Contemporary Black Women Authors, edited by Mary Helen Washington, Anchor Press (New York, NY), 1980; and Double Stitch: Black Women Write about Mothers and Daughters, edited by Maya Angelou, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993. Contributor to numerous periodicals, including Negro Digest, Denver Quarterly, Harper’s, Black World, Essence, Canadian Dimension, and the New York Times. Contributing editor, Southern Voices, Freedomways, and Ms.

Informative websites on Alice Walker



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