Deeper into Jeopardy! XXXIX: Women Authors – $400

As it was International Women’s Day just yesterday, what better time could there be to take a look at WOMEN AUTHORS? None. So let’s do just that.

Jeopardy! category: WOMEN AUTHORS (3-3-2015)

$400 clue: The 2013 documentary “Beauty in Truth” looks at the life of this “Color Purple” author & activist

Correct response

The gist: Even if The Color Purple is what most people know her for, she’s done a lot more than that in her time. Alice Walker won both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for her well-known 1982 novel, which told the story of several African American women living in rural Georgia in the 1930s. Its stark depiction of the extreme hardships they faced, including crippling poverty, racism, and violence, has also earned her a spot in the American Library Association’s top 100 most frequently challenged books list. Far from just writing about those issues, however, Walker dedicated much of her energy to combating such injustices on the ground, where they happened and continue to happen. She credits meeting Martin Luther King, Jr. as a student in the 1960s with inspiring her to become a lifelong activist. She participated in the 1963 March on Washington with King. She has been a frequent voice against war around the world, including the Iraq War; she was arrested in March 2003, just before the war was declared, for crossing a police line during an anti-war rally in Washington. She has also been a vocal, and at times controversial, critic of Israel, and a staunch supporter of the Palestinians. She has called Israel an apartheid state in the style of South Africa, and has forbidden the translation of The Color Purple into Hebrew, leading American lawyer Alan Dershowitz to accuse her of anti-Semitism, a label she wholeheartedly rejects. In any case, her activist and humanist works have earned her accolades and global recognition on top of those she has received for her writing.

The documentary Beauty in Truth was the second collaboration between British filmmaker and women’s rights activist Pratibha Parmar and Walker. They co-authored the 1993 book Warrior Marks, about female genital mutilation in Africa, which Parmar turned into a documentary as well.

Poster for Beauty in Truth

The clue: Asking who wrote The Color Purple is one of the classic Jeopardy! clues, and anyone serious about the show should have that fact well committed to memory. The bit about the documentary brings the clue a little further into the present.

In Jeopardy!: Alice Walker appears in 47 clues in the J!Archive, and 33 of them are about The Color Purple, either directly or indirectly (like a reference to “Purple prose”). Her Pulitzer Prize, all the more notable for being the first given to African American woman, is mentioned in six. Generally speaking, she’s also a good guess if the clue is about African American or women authors, and even better if both.

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