February 9, 1944 (age 70)
Putnam County, Georgia, United States
The youngest of eight children, to
Willie Lee Walker and Minnie Lou
Her mother enrolled her in first grade when she was four years old. •
Growing up with an oral tradition, listening to stories from her grandfather (who was the model for the character of Mr. in The
Color Purple), Walker began writing, very privately, when she was eight years old.
In 1952, Walker was accidentally wounded in the right eye by a shot from a BB gun fired by one of her brothers
She later became Valedictorian and was voted most-popular girl, as well as queen of her senior class. After high school, Walker went to
Spelman College in Atlanta on a full scholarship in 1961 and later transferred to Sarah Lawrence
College, graduating in 1965. Walker became interested in the U.S. civil rights movement in part due to the influence of activist Howard Zinn, who was one of her professors at
• Novelist, short story writer, poet, political activist
The Third Life of Grange
Copeland, was published in 1970.
In 1976 Walker's second novel,
Meridian, was published.
In 1982, Walker published what has become her best-known work, The Color Purple
Walker has written several other novels, including The Temple of
My Familiar and Possessing the
Secret of Joy.
• You Can't Keep a Good Woman
Down: Stories (1982)
• To Hell With Dying (1988)
• The Temple of My Familiar (1989)
• Finding the Green Stone (1991)
• Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992)
• The Complete Stories (1994)
• By The Light of My Father's Smile
• The Way Forward Is with a Broken
• Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart
(2004) Random House
In 1965, Walker met Melvyn
Rosenman Leventhal, a Jewish civil rights lawyer. They were married on March 17, 1967, in
New York City.
Later that year the couple relocated to Jackson, Mississippi, becoming "the first legally married inter-racial couple in