Alice Walker (b. 1944)

African American poet, novelist, essayist, and social activist. Born to a sharecropping family in rural Georgia, Walker attended Spelman College and Sarah Lawrence College, where she wrote her first book of poems, Once (1968). As an editor for Ms. magazine, Walker championed a revival of interest in the work of Zora Neale Hurston before receiving widespread fame for her third novel, The Color Purple (1982), winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Walker’s subsequent novels include The Temple of My Familiar (1989) and Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992). Her essays have been collected in numerous volumes, including In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose (1983) and Overcoming Speechlessness (2010). She lives in San Francisco, where she runs the publishing company Wild Tree Press. See also