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Alice Walker, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for her best-selling novel The Color Purple, will speak at the University on April 14 as the Frey Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professor.
The event, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Hill Hall, is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of the American South, the Morgan Writer-in-Residence Program, the English department and the College of Arts and Sciences.
The Color Purple was on The New York Times bestseller list for more than a year and was made into a film by Steven Spielberg. Walker is the author of five other novels, three collections of short stories, three collections of essays and five volumes of poetry.
Walker’s work has appeared in many journals and magazines, including Ms., The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s and Mother Jones. Her short stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories and twice in The O. Henry Prize Stories. Her essay, “Looking for Zora,” appeared in Best American Essays of the Century.
In all, her books have sold more than 10 million copies and have been translated into more than two dozen languages.
Walker’s newest work, Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth: New Poems, is scheduled for release in April, coinciding with her lecture at the University.
Among Walker’s many honors and awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rosenthal Award for Fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Lillian Smith Award and the Radcliffe Medal.
Bill Ferris, senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South and Joel R. Williamson Distinguished Professor of history, is a long-time friend of Walker’s. Ferris teaches The Color Purple in a seminar each spring, and this year he decided to ask Walker if she would not only come talk to his class but give a public lecture.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the University and the Chapel Hill community,” Ferris said. “She’s one of the truly great writers of our time.”