Award-winning author still fights the good fight, spreads word about worthy causes

  • US writer Alice Walker pauses during an interview with the Associated Press in Gaza City, Tuesday, March 10, 2009. Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author Alice Walker said a catastrophe has befallen Gaza and that she hopes she and others can help President Barack Obama "see what we see." Walker, 65, and members of the U.S. anti-war group "Code Pink" toured Gaza this week, including an area destroyed in Israel's recent war on the territory's Islamic militant Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

It?s been more than four decades since Alice Walker wedded a Jewish man to form what was then the first interracial married couple living in Mississippi.

The year was 1967 and ?we actually got married in New York, but the anti?miscegenation laws were against people being married in Mississippi, interracially,? Walker remembers. ?We were illegal and we were very happy about it.?

In 1983, the already prolific poet-novelist would turn heads again as the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the National Book Award, both for ?The Color Purple.?

These days, at 65 ? an age she?s christened ?the new 50? ? she?s still pushing for change. In March, she visited Gaza with the anti-war group Code Pink to document first-hand the suffering among battle-worn Palestinians. Last month, she was one of several artists who signed a letter objecting to an Israeli film salute at the Toronto Film Festival. She also recently traveled to Burma to protest the imprisonment of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Over the years, she?s dared to speak out against female genital mutilation, Rwandan genocide and the shortage of support for African orphanages.

Her undying activism spans the globe, a life?s passion she documents in her ?living book? at www.alicewalkersblog.com.

?I love blogging,? the Georgia native says. ?I find it so freeing. It suits me. I?m an Aquarius person and this is our time, when ideas can just go right through the air, direct, and you don?t have to wait a year for it to be published.?

Before Walker appears in Healdsburg this weekend at a benefit for the Margaret Okari Foundation, a Kenyan school that educates orphans who are affected by AIDS, she took time to talk about the plight of those who suffer needlessly, a new collection of poetry and what inspired her to settle in Northern California:

Q: What?s your daily ritual like?

A: I like to wake up and write in the morning, but I hang out with a musician (trumpeter Garrett Larson) and musicians keep such weird hours.

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