Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker has been inspiring readers with her stories, her passion, and her honesty for more than four decades. You probably know the iconic author best from her most famous novel, The Color Purple, but she's written many other novels and poetry books, all of which feature her strong writing and inimitable voice. In fact, regardless of whether you're reading her one of her books or listening to one of her interviews, Alice Walker's quotes always leave an impression: her words are striking, energizing and inspiring.
Read on for 10 of our favorite Alice Walker quotes, from both her published books and interviews.
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Perhaps the most famous Alice Walker quote, her words on power have been quoted in countless inspirational books.
Published in 1983, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens is a collection of Alice Walker's essays, reviews, statements, articles and speeches. Much of the writing expands on her "womanist" theory, in which Walker defines a "womanist" as a black feminist, or feminist of color.
The Temple of My Familiar is the 1989 sequel to The Color Purple, though it doesn't directly follow it. Instead, Celie and Shug subtly shadow the lives of dozens of characters, including Celie's granddaughter, who is living in modern-day San Francisco. The ambitious, multi-faceted novel weaves a "glorious and iridescent" tapestry of interrelated lives (Library Journal).
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A National Book Award finalist, Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems are the love poems of an author caught up in a sometimes violent upheaval. These aren't your usual romantic love poems; rather, they're Walker's passionate and visceral response to having spent the previous decade deep in the civil rights movement.
Finding peace and happiness isn't a simple task, though it is a bit easier once you realize that the only person who can make you happy is you.
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Alice Walker's second collection of short stories is about strong women who face heart-wrenching degradation. Unlike her first short story book, however, these characters face their problems head on, and Walker provides some levity by infusing wit and the power of love in each tale.
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This Alice Walker quote is delivered by the character Shug Avery in The Color Purple. Celie is immediately fascinated by Shug, who refuses to be dominated by any one, and who has no trouble speaking her mind.
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This collection of Alice Walker's writings from 1973-1987 is "an uneasy mix of journal entries, short essays, travel notes, speeches and dream fragments" (Publisher's Weekly), all of which tackle issues such as the modern dilution of black folklore, controversy surrounding The Color Purple, nuclear escalation and homophobia.
Alice Walker's first collection of short stories, published in 1973, contains thirteen haunting tales about the lives of black women. Almost 50 years later, the works are still well-worth reading. "Walker dares to reveal truths about men and women, about blacks and whites, about God and love. . . . And we, like Alice Walker's marvelous characters, come away transformed by knowledge and love but most of all by wonder" (Essence).
The final book in The Color Purple Collection, Possessing the Secret of Joy follows the story of Tashi, a girl who was born in the Olinka tribe. Years later, Tashi is living in America and living as Evelyn Johnson—though she can't shake the abuse she's suffered throughout her life.
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Featured image: Alice Walker c. 1979, at a celebration she hosted after the publication of Zora Neale Hurston's I Love Myself When I Am Laughing, an anthology Walker had edited. Image courtesy of Alice Walker.