Poet, essayist, and novelist Alice Walker was born February 9, 1944, in Eatonton, Georgia, the eighth and last child of sharecroppers Willie Lee and Minnie Lou Grant Walker. She attended Spelman College and received a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College.
Her books of poetry include Hard Times Require Furious Dancing (New World Library, 2010); A Poem Traveled Down My Arm: Poems And Drawings (Random House, 2003); Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth (2003); Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems, 1965-1990 Complete (Harcourt, 1991); Horses Make the Landscape More Beautiful (1984); Goodnight, Willie Lee, I'll See You in the Morning (1979); Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems (1973); and Once: Poems (1968).
She is also a well-known fiction writer. Among her novels and short story collections are Possessing the Secret of Joy: A Novel (New Press, 2008); The Way Forward is with a Broken Heart (Random House, 2000); By the Light of My Father's Smile (1998); Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992); The Temple of My Familiar (1989); To Hell With Dying (1988); The Color Purple (1982), which won the Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award; and You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down (1981).
Her collections of essays include Dreads: Sacred Rites of the Natural Hair Revolution (Artisan, 1999. With Francesco Mastalia and Alfonse Pagano); Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer's Activism (1997); The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult; Living by the Word: Selected Writings, 1973-87 (1988); and In Search of Our Mother's Gardens: Womanist Prose (1983). She has also written a memoir, The Chicken Chronicles (The New Press, 2011).
Walker has won numerous awards and honors, including the Lillian Smith Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rosenthal Award from the National Institute of Arts & Letters, a fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute, a Merrill Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in Mendocino, California.
Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages.