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POD: Book Clubs

The Color Purple

Iconic modern classic

Set in the deep American South between the wars, The Color Purple is the classic tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.

Published in 1982, The Color Purple went on to win both the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. In 1985, the book was adapted into a film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey, and in 2005 it was adapted into a Broadway musical.

Part of our ‘Beyond the Book’ Series. View



Alice Walker – The Color Purple

(52 mins)

Iconic African American writer Alice Walker on her prize-winning novel ‘The Color Purple’ from the BBC World Book Club.


Alice Walker: Desert Island Discs

(34 mins)

Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the Pulitzer Prize winning writer Alice Walker. Author, poet, feminist and activist, it was her novel The Color Purple that brought her worldwide attention and acclaim. The story of a poor black girl surviving in the deep American south, between the wars, it is a landmark work, disturbing and exhilarating in equal measure.


Movie: The Color Purple

(31 mins)

Movie review: Robert and Joshua from the Torn Stubs podcast head to the deep south to discuss The Color Purple directed by Steven Spielberg.




Alice Walker on Her Classic Novel, Speilberg’s Film, and the Broadway Adaptation

(3 mins)

Alice Walker discusses the birth of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Steven Spielberg’s big-screen version, and her thoughts on the musical adaptation.


Lovely Hoffman on Celie & Shug controversy

(4 mins)

Callie Crossley, WGBH Radio & TV Host, interviews Lovely Hoffman on the set of SpeakEasy Stage Company’s production of The Color Purple.



1982 New York Times review


Review of The Color Purple shortly after it was published by Mel Watkins for the New York Times

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National Book Awards review


Journalist, Anna Clark, recalls her original 1983 review of The Color Purple that still features on the National Book Award website.

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A Cultural Touchstone for Black Female Self-Love


A review of the cultural impact of The Color Purple, by Victoria Bond for The New Republic.

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Filming locations


Details and photos of The Color Purple movie filming locations from

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Alice Walker author website

Book notes on The Color Purple

Symbolism of Purple

Website for The Color Purple Musical


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