Literary fame

The Color Purple

In 1982, Walker published The Color Purple. The novel became a best seller but it also generated controversy and criticism because it was thought to portray black men in negative ways and because it featured a lesbian relationship between two of its principal characters.

Walker was awarded the National Book Award for Fiction and the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 and the novel was subsequently adapted into a critically acclaimed 1985 film, directed by Steven Spielberg, featuring Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg. In 2005 a musical adaptation of Walker’s novel enjoyed a lengthy stage run on Broadway, subsequent American tours, a successful season in London’s West End (2013), with a repeat production on Broadway (2015).


In 1983 Walker published her most famous collection of essays, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose, in which she introduced her concept of womanism as an alternative African-American definition of feminism.

Walker has continued to publish collections of short stories, poetry, essays and other writings. Her work is focused on the struggles of black people, particularly women, and their lives in a racist, sexist, and violent society.

Continuing career

Walker is now an internationally celebrated author, poet and activist, whose books include seven novels, four collections of short stories, four children’s books, and volumes of essays and poetry. She has written many other best sellers, among them, Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992), which detailed the devastating effects of female genital mutilation and was later adapted into a documentary, Warrior Marks (1993), in collaboration with the British-Indian film maker Pratibha Parmar.

Walker’s work has been translated into more than two-dozen languages and her books have sold more than fifteen million copies worldwide. Her official website continues to provide interesting and often provocative blog posts and details of her current projects and campaigns:

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