Alice Walker made history in 1982 when she became the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for The Color Purple. Almost forty years before the “Me Too” movement, the book received both praise and negative criticism upon publication and for the conversations around race, gender, and sexual violence that it sparked and still continues today. Since then, the powerful and controversial novel has been adapted into an Oscar-nominated film directed by Steven Spielberg and a Broadway musical produced by Oprah Winfrey.
In Search of the Color Purple by prominent academic and activist Salamishah Tillet combines cultural criticism, history, and memoir to explore Walker’s epistolary novel. Tillet examines the groundbreaking novel through archival research, interviews with Alice Walker, Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, and others, and through her own personal experiences with the text. Reading The Color Purple at age fifteen was a groundbreaking experience for Tillet that continues to resonate—as a sexual violence survivor, as a teacher of the novel, and as an accomplished writer. Provocative and personal, In Search of the Color Purple is a bold and timely work from an important public intellectual that captures this novel’s seminal role in reimagining trauma, healing, and justice for generations to come.
The event will be on April 14th, 6:00-7:00 p.m. and is co-sponsored by the DePaul Department of English, Women’s Center, Center for Black Diaspora, and African and Black Diaspora Studies