An author, poet, and activist, Alice Walker has been a strong African-American female voice in American literature since her first poetry collection, Once, was published in 1968. Since then, Walker has authored a number of novels, short story collections, poetry anthologies, and non-fiction works.
Mainstream audiences know her best for her novel, The Color Purple (1982), which was adapted into a film in 1985 and starred Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover. It was also adapted into a Broadway musical in 2005.
Along with his writing, Walker is an outspoken activist for civil rights and womanism, and the themes of her works reflect her views on these topics and many others. She is also an animal rights activist.
Below are several interviews with Walker speaking about his works and her creative process.
Even if you’re not familiar with his name, you’re probably familiar with one of Alex Haley’s most famous works: Roots: The Saga of an American Family. A powerful and resonant author and historian, Haley used the story of his own family’s horrific ancestry as slaves to write the acclaimed novel that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1977. It was also made into a mini-series on ABC in 1977 and later for History in 2016. Roots is a novel I highly recommend. It is a sobering look at a dark time in our nation’s history.
Prior to being a writer, Haley enlisted as a member of the Coast Guard during World War II – a compelling story in itself – where he eventually became the first chief journalist of the Coast Guard before retiring from the branch in 1959.
Haley would go on to conduct interviews for Playboy magazine, author The Autobiography of Malcolm X in 1965, write a screenplay titled Super Fly T.N.T. released in 1973, and the aforementioned Roots.
Haley passed away in 1992, but his contributions to American literature continue to resonate today.
Below are several interview clips I found of this amazing man speaking about his life, career, and issues still relevant today.
An influential author whose words and narrative symbolism resonate with the reader long after, Toni Morrison is one of America’s greatest 20th-century voices. Morrison wrote eleven novels over her career. The one most have heard of is Beloved, adapted into a film in 1998 and starred Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover. Along with her novels, Morrison has written children’s books, plays, short fiction, and non-fiction.
Below are a series of interviews with Morrison, where she speaks about her life, her works, the writing craft, and the themes present in her stories.