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Sunday Read: Alice Walker Talks About Being One of America’s Most Censored Writers

The Colour PurpleAlice Walker BannedMegan Labrise interviewed Alice Walker about censorship for Banned Books Week. Walker’s book, The Colour Purple, has been banned from schools continuously since 1984, making her one of the most censored writers in America.

In 1995 Walker put together a short book, Alice Walker Banned, which included two of her banned short stories and an excerpt from The Colour Purple.

In the following interview, Walker talks about her reaction to her book being banned for the first time and considers why people had such a strong reaction to it:

Alice Walker understands the pendulum swing between acclaim and scorn. Her novel, The Color Purple, won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award in 1983—the following year it was challenged as inappropriate reading material for students. In the decades since, Walker has addressed censorship in speeches, essays and a book, Alice Walker Banned, which includes her most-challenged works—the short stories “Am I Blue?” and “Roselily,” and an excerpt from The Color Purple — along with the letters to the editor and school board meeting minutes that detail the ideological battles waged over her art.

In honor of Banned Books Week, Walker shared with us her thoughts on the artist’s charge, drawing strength from history, and what it feels like to wield the pen that has everyone up in arms.

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