African-American author to give series of lecturesAlice Walker, an acclaimed African American author and a women’s rights activist, will visit Korea next week for a two-week stay.
In a trip organized by Iftopia, an affiliate of the Korean feminist magazine “If,” which hosted the Anti-Miss Korea Festival last month, Ms. Walker will deliver several lectures on issues of race, gender and peace.
Her schedule begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, when she will speak at the Art Sonje Center to officials affiliated with the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. On Friday, Ms. Walker will lecture at Ewha Womans University at 2 p.m. in lecture room 414, which is open to the public, on issues of nature, spirit and feminist identity.
The following day at 2 p.m. she will talk to local feminist scholars of American literature about the women’s writing tradition, under the theme, “Writing the Unspeakable: Can a Woman Free Herself with Words?” The talk, to take place at Hongik University’s Humanities Lecture Hall (Inmungwan) in C-dong’s room 526, will be followed by an evening concert at the Korean Culture & Arts Foundation in Daehangno, northern Seoul.
In addition to Ms. Walker, a number of peace activists and musicians from abroad are to attend the event, including Hyun Kyung, a professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York, Na Yun-seon, a jazz musician based in Paris, and Melvin John Miller, a religious educator. Ms. Walker and Hyun Kyung recently published a collection of essays and poems together in Korean, called “Love Affair With God by Hyun Kyung and Alice.”
Ms. Walker’s official schedule in Seoul closes with a signing event of her three books in Korean ― “Anything We Love can be Saved,” “In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens”and “Love Affair With God by Hyun Kyung and Alice” ― at the Kyobo bookstore in Gwanghwamun on Wednesday, June 2, at 3 p.m.
The next day Ms. Walker will travel to Busan, presenting lectures at the Busan Citizen’s Library at 11 a.m. and at Busan National University at 2 p.m.
Iftopia is accepting applicants on a first-come, first-serve basis for those interested in joining Ms. Walker on a two-day tour to Hadong, in Korea’s south near Jirisan National Park. The trip, leaving on Saturday, will stop at Chilbulsa temple, a traditional market and a tea garden, with a separate session for meditation in the morning. Those interested should call (02) 717-9247; a 150,000-won ($127) deposit is required before departure.
Ms. Walker, whose book “The Color Purple” was made into a film by Steven Spielberg in 1985, is one of America’s most highly-regarded black authors.
Ms. Walker played an active role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. She is also known widely for her involvement with feminist groups and has helped popularize the idea of “womanist” as opposed to “feminist.” Many of her poems, novels and short stories deal with issues of violence, isolation and gender; she is especially known for voicing the political concerns of women of color, and has criticized mainstream feminism for being too centered on white middle-class women.
Ms. Walker also published a biography of the black American poet Langston Hughes, and conducted research on circumcision of African women with Pratibha Parma, a British producer working in Kenya. Their research was made into a documentary film titled “Warrior Marks.”
by Park Soo-mee
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