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Alice Walker's archives going to Emory

Posted Wednesday, December 19th, 2007
Posted in publishing, Writing | Comments Off on Alice Walker's archives going to Emory

Local gal (she’s from GA) does good.  From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

From journals and notebooks of poetry written when she was growing up in Eatonton, Ga., to drafts of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker saved every scrap along her journey to becoming one of the leading literary figures of the 20th Century.

Her literary and personal archive contains many letters from such friends as Toni Morrison, Gloria Steinem, Quincy Jones and Oprah Winfrey, as well as a remarkable volume — “Poems of a Childhood Poetess” — that she composed when she was 15.

By the end of this week, her entire archive — all 122 boxes — is expected to arrive at its new, permanent home at Emory University. Emory announced Tuesday it had acquired Walker’s archive for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition is a “major addition to Emory’s collection,” which will help students and scholars learn more about Walker’s commitment to social activism, literary and personal growth and spirituality, said provost Earl Lewis.

At Emory’s Manuscript, Archive and Rare Book Library, Walker’s papers will join those of author Salman Rushdie, the late British poet laureate Ted Hughes and Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney as well as significant collections related to Harlem Renaissance novelists and poets Langston Hughes and James Weldon Johnson.

Walker is the author of eight novels, four major poetry collections and many works of nonfiction. She became the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1983 for “The Color Purple,” which was adapted into a critically acclaimed 1985 movie as well as a musical that had its world premiere at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre in 2004 and made its Broadway debut a year later.

“I can imagine in years to come that my papers and memorabilia, my journals and letters, will find themselves always in the company of people who care about many of the things I do: culture, community, spirituality, scholarship and the blessings of ancestors who want each of us to find joy and happiness in this life, by doing the very best we can to be worthy of it,” Walker said in a statement.

Walker said Emory’s relationship with the Dalai Lama also played a part in her decision. The Tibetan spiritual leader joined the university’s faculty in October as a presidential distinguished professor and plans to periodically visit Emory to give talks to students.

Emory is “a place where my archive can rest with joy in the company it keeps,” Walker said.

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