Alice Walker is a Pulitzer Prize-winning, African-American novelist and poet most famous for authoring The Color Purple.
“If I'm eating food I know was a creature in a cage, it brings up memories of segregation and the stories from my ancestors, of being in captivity and denied their personalities, their true beings. Animals were not made for us, or our use. They have their own use, which is just being who they are.”
The novelist, poet and feminist was born on February 9, 1944, in Eatonton, Georgia. After attending racially segregated schools in the South, she earned a scholarship and went to Spelman College in Atlanta, followed by Sarah Lawrence College in New York City. She graduated in 1965—the same year that she published her first short story.
After college, Walker worked as a social worker, teacher and lecturer. She became active in the Civil Rights Movement, fighting for equality for all African Americans. Her experiences informed her first collection of poetry, Once, which was published in 1968. Better known now as a novelist, Walker showed her talents for storytelling in her debut work, Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970). Her career as a writer took flight with the publication of her third novel, The Color Purple, in 1982. Set in the early 1900s, the novel explores the female African-American experience through the life and struggles of its narrator, Celie. Celie suffers terrible abuse at the hands of her father, and later, from her husband. The compelling work won Walker both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction in 1983.
Three years later, Walker's story made it to the big screen: Steven Spielberg directed The Color Purple, which was a critical success, receiving 11 Academy Award nominations.
I find it difficult to feel responsible for the suffering of others. It's the same with animals: I feel the less harm I do, the lighter my heart.Alice Walker