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Alice Walker in Blue Picture

Page Six: Later Works to the Present Day

Alice Walker Biography Links:
[Early Life] [College Years] [Becoming a Writer] [Resurrecting Zora] [Purple Years] [Later Works]

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Alice Walker Mug Shot

Later Works

In 1988, the short story that Alice Walker had written in college, "To Hell With Dying," was released as a children's book. During that same year, her second collection of essays entitled Living by The Word, was published. The title of the book was taken from a dream. Alice dreamt that she talked to a two-headed woman. She asked the woman if the world could survive if man continued to live as he had in the past. The two-headed woman responded no. The piece of advice she gave to Alice was to live by the word and to keep going. Living By The Word contained a collection of some ofher convocational speeches, lectures and essays. Some critics who reviewed the book said that it was Alice's most spiritual writing ever. In the essays she discussed everything from the life and death of her spiritual big brother, Bill Wahpepah, to the reasons why she decided to become a vegetarian.

In 1989, her fourth fiction novel, The Temple of My Familiar was published and received lukewarm reviews. . Unlike The Color Purple, which only took less than a year to write, The Temple of My Familiar took approximately eight years to complete.

In 1991, Alice released her second children's book, Finding the Green Stone. She also released a book of her collected poems, Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965. The poetry book included sixteen new poems as well as four of her previous books of poetry, Once,Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems, Goodnight Willie Lee, I'll See You in the Morning, and Horses Makes a Landscape More Beautiful.

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Alice Walker in Green Picture

Warrior Marks

In 1992, Alice's fourth book is published, Possessing the Secret of Joy. It discussed the horrors of female genital mulitation, an operation that is practiced mainly on the continents of Middle East, Asia, and Africa, in order to ensure a girl's virginity or purity before marriage. During Female genital mutilation (or female genital circumcision as it is sometimes called) a clitordectomy or removal of a clitoris and all the external genitilia.

Walker spoke out against these practices not only because it denied a woman her sexuality, but threatened a woman's health and her emotional well-being. Young girls have bled to death and contracted infection as a result of undergoing the operation. Those who survive it, she said, continued to face problems like menstrual and sexual dysfunction into adulthood.

Walker faced renewed criticism. Critics charged that Alice was speaking about what she did not know since she did not live in many of the cultures whose practices who she was critiquing. But Alice continued to speak on. Her book brought a new international focus on what she considered a barbaric practice. But she wanted to do more.

With the help of a friend, Pratibha Paramar, a film maker, Alice makes a documentary about the effects of the practices of female mutilation, called Warrior Marks: Female Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of Women. The film is released in 1993.

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Recent Releases

In 1996, Alice released her third book of collected essays called The Same River Twice which documented her battles with Lyme Disease, her feelings about the criticism about her novel and the movie The Color Purple, as well as her break up with her long-time partner Robert Allen. It also includes her original version of the script for the movie, which was never used. In Anything We Love Can Be Saved, which is her fourth book of essays, dicusses her activism. Her current book is By the Light of My Father's Smile explores her characters sexuality through the erotic. Alice currently resides in Mendocino, California on her ranch with her dog, Marley.

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Living by Grace: Life and Times of Alice Walker
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