RAMALLAH, April 20 (JMCC) - Pulitzer prize-winning writer Alice Walker says her journeys into autobiography are rooted in trying to make her own experience visible in a world that didn't always recognize her.
Growing up in the segregated southern United States, Walker says the books she had access to then didn't portray people like her mother, depicting instead the worst racial stereotypes.
When you realize that everything you represent is despised, you have to be very clear about what it is you love, she told a standing-room-only audience at the Khalil Sakakini Center in Ramallah
on Tuesday evening.
Walker was speaking at a forum on biographical and autobiographical writing that was part of this week's Palestine Festival of Literature
Palestinian writers Ghada Karmi and Akram Musallem read from their works of non-fiction. British biographer Anne Chisholm also spoke at the event, saying that autobiography is a way for Palestinians to reach people.
Walker says that her forthcoming book, The Chicken Chronicles
, is somewhat of a memoir, describing her relationship to a brood of chickens she keeps at home.
I was going back and trying to restore a relationship I had as a child with other animals, said Walker, whose job as a girl was to wring the neck of the chicken her family would eat for Sunday dinner.
Walker said that the genre of memoir involves the restoring of broken places in us, broken places in the psych, in the heart.
Walker has written some 30 books, although her most well-known work is The Color Purple
. She spoke earlier in the week at TEDxRamallah in Bethlehem and then went on to join the Palestine Festival of Literature.