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Alice Walker

Alice Walker

Events - Talks

The Study Sessions: Women Writers in the US South

Alice Walker and the Civil Rights "Southern Gothic", by Sharon Monteith

10 Oct 2017

The Study Sessions are a series of informal reading and discussion groups. This series will focus on different versions of the American South as realised in the work of four of its authors. More>>
Southern racial history has always conjured up gothic imagery for writers inside and outside the South and the ghosts of race crimes haunt the civil rights gothic. African American writer Alice Walker (best known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple) participated in the civil rights movement in the 1960s and wrote about the movement across different genres. She also taught southern fiction in the 1960s and professed admiration for Flannery O’Connor who she believed left her black characters free to inhabit another landscape in the reader’s imagination.
In this session, we will examine Walker’s imaginative writing that focuses on the movement and a story she composed to “write back” to O’Connor. We will discuss the ways in which Walker harnessed gothic images and changed them to expose the white supremacist ideology that underpinned racial segregation and the violent reprisals of anti-movement forces in the civil rights 1960s.   
For this session Sharon Monteith would like us to read:
- Alice Walker, 'Elethia'
- Alice Walker, 'Petunias'
- Alice Walker, 'The Dummy in the Window'
- Alice Walker, 'The First Day'
- Flannery O'Connor, 'Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction'
Free, The Studio
Sharon Monteith is Professor of American Literature and Cultural History at Nottingham Trent University and was founding director of The Centre for Research in Race and Rights at the University of Nottingham. She is currently a Leverhulme Fellow writing The Civil Rights Movement: A Literary History



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