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(Fun Facts You Might not have known about Alice...)

Vital Statistics..

  • Born February 9, 1944 in Eatonton, GA, which is a farming community in Middle Georgia.

  • Has written 5 novels, 4 books of essays and 5 poetry books (one being a collected work of poems.) The most famous of her books is of course The Color Purple which was nominated for a National Book Critics' Award, and won a American Book Award.

  • Was the first African-American ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

  • She currently lives in Mendocino, California with her dog Marley. Her most recent book is By the Light of My Father's Smile.

Alice Walker's Historical Firsts...

Alice Walker Mug Shot

    Did you know...
  • that Alice Walker and her ex-husband Melvyn Leventhal were the first legally married interracial couple to live in the state of Mississippi?

    Did you know...
  • That Alice Walker created and taught the first class in the country dedicated to African-American Women Writers at Wellesley College?

    Did you know...
  • That Alice Walker was the first African-American ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction?

    Major Awards that Alice has won...

Alice Walker Mug Shot

(You know that Alice Walker was the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for in fiction in 1983...but what else has she won? You might not have known that Ms. Walker won...

  • A Prize from The American Scholar for her essay, The Civil Rights Movement: Was It Good?"

  • Lillian Smith Award from the Southern Regional Council for her book of poetry Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems

  • Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award from the American Institute of Arts and Letters for her collection of short stories called In Love and In Trouble: Stories of Black Women.

  • An American Book Award for The Color Purple

      She's also has been awarded some major fellowships...and grants. The most significant of them was...
    • A Grant from the Gugenheim Foundation!


    Alice Walker Mug Shot

    Question: What religion does Alice follow?

    • Alice defines herself as a "pagan" or "earth worshipper." She says that she is following the religion that her African and Native American ancestors before her practiced when they honored the Earth Mother. Alice bowed down daily in the mornings in worship to the Earth Mother. This got her in a little bit of trouble in the early eighties when she was bitten by three ticks simulatenously that carried the debilitating Lyme Disease Bacterium.

      She meditates on a regular basis...(which she started doing after the divorce from her husband Melvyn in 1976). Meditation helps Alice to remain focused and centered. She also studied Native American practices under her spiritual big brother, Bill Wahpepah.

      She sees Christmas as being a celebration of the "solstice" or rebirth of the sun more than anything else and celebrates it by a sweat (via the sauna), a vegetarian feast, music making and dancing with friends. She celebrates the days after Christmas by planting seeds. She sees Christmas as the "rebirthday" of every living thing on the planet. You can read more about her celebrations in Anything We Love Can Be Saved".


    Alice Walker Mug Shot

    Alice is the originator of ...

    • Womanism: (Alice's trademark claim to fame.)... She defines a womanist as being a Black Feminist. The word derives from the phrase.."You're acting womanish..." or willfull or outrageous. As she defines it, it's a woman who loves other women, sexually or non-sexually and men sexually and non sexually. Loves music, loves to dance...loves the spirt. "Woman is to feminist as lavender is to purple." Alice says...You can discover more about her womanist stands in In Search of Our Mothers Gardens.

    Alice is against...

    • Female Genital Mutilation: Which is a practice carried on in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. It is a practice where the outside genitila of young girls (and sometimes babies) is removed to ensure a young girl's virginity up until the time she is married. Alice considers the practice barbaric...saying young girls who undergo the operation suffer the consequences for a lifetime, experiencing urinary tract, menstrual and sexual problems to say the least. She wrote a fictional book about the subject called Possessing the Secret of Joy . She also made a documentary with her film making friend, Pratibha Parmar, about female genital mutilation called Warrior Marks.

    She's also against ...

    • Nuclear Weapons of course...everyone's least favorite weapon of choice in the world. (Well...almost everyone.)

    Alice's Fantastic Fanatic Section!!!

    Alice Walker Mug Shot

    Really STRANGE & SPECIFIC...(and some not so feminist facts...) that only a Fanatic wants to know...

      1.  Question: How did she get that fabulous hairdo?

    • Answer: Alice wears her hair in locks. It's been ten years since she has actually combed her hair...(see the essay "Dreads" in her book, Anything We Love Can Be Saved Bob Marley was the first person to teach her to "trust the Universe enough to respect her hair." She first considered dreading her hair before the making of the film The Color Purple, when she had started her own baby dreads. She also got to (for the first time) investigate some one else's locks. In her essay "Opressed Hair Puts a Ceiling on the Soul" in her book Living By the Word she saw her hair as the last barrier in her quest for spiritual liberation. The rest as they say is locked...in history!

      2.  Question:What does Alice like to eat...

    • Answer: Alice is mainly a vegetarian. At least, ninety percent of the time. Her diet is ninety percent non-meat and non-vegetarian. However, somehow that occasional piece of fish, drumstick or Georgia Ham find their way to her lips. (We wonder how?) She said she first considered to become join the world of veggies on a trip to Bali. She discusses her views in "Why Did the Balinese Chicken Cross the Road," in Living by the Word

      3.  Question:What is Alice favorite word and what does her license plate read..

    • Answer: Irregardless is the word on Alice's license plate, which was a word that her grandfather loved to use. Although it is not considered a "proper" word, it means in spite of ...everything, as Alice puts it. And it's a word that she continues to use, irregardlessly.

      4.  Question: Who are Alice's favorite musical influences...

    • Answer: Alice said that before she ever considered the career of writing, that she also considered becoming an artist. The artform that Alice most envies is music. Some of Alice's favorites are reggae artist, Bob Marley...and folk singing group, Sweet Honey in The Rock.

      5.  Question: What is Alice's advice to young writers?

    • Answer: She says that it is important for writers to block out the influences and noise of the outer world like the ones infiltrating us daily through the mediums of televisions, magazines, radios, cable, etc; and focus on their inner world within in order to create really good art. Listening to the inner voice is key to producing really good art, she said. You can find out more about her statements in her essay, "Interview" in In Search of Our Mother's Gardens.

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  • Living By Grace: The Life and Times of Alice Walker
    [Main Page] [Biography] [Complete Works] [Writing Influences] [Fun Facts] [Bibliography]

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