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Alice Walker: Writer, Feminist, "Womanist"

Recognized as one of the leading voices among black American women writers, Alice Walker has produced an acclaimed and varied body of work, including poetry, novels, short stories, essays, and criticism. Her writings portray the struggle of black people throughout history, and are praised for their insightful and riveting portraits ofblack life, in particular the experiences of black women in a sexist and racist society. Walker has described herself as a "womanist" — her term for a black feminist — which she defines as one who,"appreciates and prefers women's culture, women's emotional flexibility ... women's strength" and is "committed to [the] survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female."

A theme throughout Walker's work is the preservation of black culture, and her women characters forge important links to maintain continuity in both personal relationships and communities.

Alice Walker, best known perhaps as the author of The Color Purple, was the eighth child of Georgia sharecroppers. After a childhood accident blinded her in one eye, she went on to become valedictorian of her local school, and attend Spelman College and Sarah Lawrence College on scholarships, graduating in 1965. She volunteered in the voter registration drives of the 1960s in Georgia, and went to work after college in the Welfare Department in New York City.

( From Thomson – Gale website, )