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Born to a sharecropping family in Georgia, Alice Walker thrived in the rich culture of what she called the "agrarian peasantry" to become one of our most important and popular writers. Evelyn C. White charts Walker's childhood, marked by an incident at eight that left her blinded in her right eye and disfigured by scar tissue and that prompted her, out of a sense of "ugliness," to probe human suffering through her poems and stories. We learn of her activism in the 1960s freedom movement and her leadership of the debate on black women's art, politics, and sexuality. The Color Purple garnered Walker the Pulitzer Prize in Fictionthe first awarded to a black woman writer. Drawing on papers, letters, journals, and extensive interviews with Walker, her family, friends, and colleagues, and with leading American cultural figures including Gloria Steinem, Quincy Jones, and Oprah Winfrey, White assesses one of the most influential writers of our time.