Best-selling contemporary author Alice Walker (1944- ) grew up in Georgia, just south of Atlanta in Eatonton. Read about this popular novelist, poet, and children’s book author here: https://www.biography.com/writer/alice-walker.
The places of Walker’s modest upbringing stand in striking contrast to the stately homes of nearby Milledgeville, where iconic Southern author Flannery O’Connor lived. According to Paul Elie’s article in The New Yorker, “Alice Walker tells of living ‘across the way’ from the farmhouse during her teens, not knowing that a writer lived there: ‘It was one of my brothers who took milk from her place to the creamery in town. When we drove into Milledgeville, the cows that we saw on the hillside going into town would have been the cows of the O’Connors.’”
The Color Purple
Walker is a prolific author best known for The Color Purple, a social commentary fictional story published in a diary format in 1982 and set from 1909 to 1949 in the South. The book won a Pulitzer Prize in 1983 and was made into a feature film in 1986 directed by Steven Spielberg and that starred Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey, and Margaret Avery. The soundtrack was composed by Quincy Jones. The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and is one of only two feature films to receive so many nominations without a win. A musical 2023 remake, crediting Alice Walker as a cowriter, starred Halle Bailey, Taraji P. Henson, and Colman Domingo. The 2023 film was produced by Oprah Winfrey, one of the stars of the original feature film. The Color Purple had also been made into a Broadway musical.
A video of interviews about the making of the original movie can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoEjMlNh5mU.
In addition to her literary work, Walker is known for rejuvenating interest in the work of Zora Neale Hurston. A YouTube video of her speaking about her efforts can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com. Read about literary places connected to Zora Neale Hurston here: Zora Neale Hurston in Florida and Zora Neale Hurston in Illinois.
A map of important places to Walker’s upbringing can be picked up at the Eatonton Chamber of Commerce office (305 N. Madison Avenue) during weekday business hours. Additional information for a driving tour can be found by clicking here: https://www.exploregeorgia.org.
This self-guided driving trail includes the Wards Chapel A.M.E. Church where Alice was baptized and attended services, her childhood home, her birthplace, and the birthplace of her mother.
The Alice Walker Drive is the fourth stop on the Georgia Author Adventures Trail.