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Tue, Mar 30


Crowdcast Event

Author Event : In Search of the Color Purple

Join us for an evening with Salamishah Tillet in conversation Kamilah Forbes to discuss In Search of the Color Purple!

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Author Event : In Search of the Color Purple
Author Event : In Search of the Color Purple

Time & Location

Mar 30, 2021, 7:00 PM EDT

Crowdcast Event

About the Event

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Mixing cultural criticism, literary history, biography, and memoir, an exploration of Alice Walker's critically acclaimed and controversial novel, The Color Purple.

Alice Walker made history in 1983 when she became the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for The Color Purple. Published in the Reagan era amid a severe backlash to civil rights, the Jazz Age novel tells the story of racial and gender inequality through the life of a 14-year-old girl from Georgia who is haunted by domestic and sexual violence.

Prominent academic and activist Salamishah Tillet combines cultural criticism, history, and memoir to explore Walker's epistolary novel and shows how it has influenced and been informed by the zeitgeist. The Color Purple received both praise and criticism upon publication, and the conversation it sparked around race and gender still continues today. It has been adapted for an Oscar-nominated film and a hit Broadway musical.

Through archival research and interviews with Walker, Oprah Winfrey, and Quincy Jones (among others), Tillet studies Walker's life and how themes of violence emerged in her earlier work. Reading The Color Purple at age 15 was a groundbreaking experience for Tillet. It continues to resonate with her--as a sexual violence survivor, as a teacher of the novel, and as an accomplished academic.

Provocative and personal, In Search of The Color Purple is a bold work from an important public intellectual, and captures Alice Walker's seminal role in rethinking sexuality, intersectional feminism, and racial and gender politics.


Salamishah Tillet is a scholar, cultural critic, and activist. Previously a professor of English and  Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Tillet was also a visiting fellow at Princeton  and scholar-in-residence at the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center. She is currently

the Henry Rutgers Professor of African American Studies and Creative Writing at Rutgers  University-Newark, the faculty director of New Arts Justice at Express Newark, and a  contributing critic-at-large at the New York Times. With her sister, Scheherazade Tillet, she  founded A Long Walk Home, an art organization that empowers young people to end violence  against girls and women.


Kamilah Forbes is an esteemed award-winning director and producer for theater and television.  She currently serves as the Executive Producer at the World-Famous Apollo Theater in Harlem.  In her diverse body of work, Kamilah is noted for having a strong commitment to the  development of creative works by, for, and about the Hip-Hop generation.

This Howard University alum has won awards for both directing and producing, including the  2019 NBTF Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award and an NAACP Image Award.

This Root 100 award winner and Sundance Fellow’s most recent projects include directing the  world premiere, tour and theatrical adaption of Ta-Nehisi’ Coates’ New York Times best-selling  novel “Between the World and Me.” In addition to her work at the Apollo Theater, Kamilah is set  to direct the Broadway premiere of “Soul Train” alongside Questlove, Dominique Morrisseau,  and Camille A. Brown.

Please note Cafe con Libros has a zero tolerance policy for harassment or intimidation of any kind during this virtual event.

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