EATONTON, Ga. — Alice Walker wrote the book 'The Color Purple' in 1982 and a few years later Hollywood turned it into a movie.

Walker grew up in Putnam County and this weekend she is coming home to celebrate her 75th birthday.

Georgia Smith knew Walker as a kid.

"We asked her if she wanted to go to the movie, and I remember it as if it was yesterday. She said, 'what's playing?' and they told her what was playing, and she said, 'I don't think, so it doesn't sound very educational,'" Smith said with a chuckle.

Smith says even at a young age the future literary star stood out.

"She got out of school in 1961 and I got three years ahead, so we were not at the same age level, but like I said, I know how smart she was, absolutely smart, and she was one of those people that could write, Smith said.

She wrote the book 'The Color Purple,' and Hollywood turned it into a Steven Spielberg movie, which was a big deal for a small town.

Now that Walker is coming back, Eatonton is going all out.

The Georgia Writer's Museum is hosting the event Saturday starting at 10 a.m. It goes until 9:30 p.m. 

There will be events all day and a big event going on at the Plaza Arts Center. They've already sold out of their 500 tickets for that, but people around here say they are just excited Alice Walker is coming to town.

Shannon Minchey runs Southern Unique and hopes a lot of the shops downtown see good business Saturday.

"Well it's hard to explain how excited we are. It's something she hasn't done before, and it's something that we have not hosted her in this town, so we're really excited about it," Minchey said.

Minchey says she saw 'The Color Purple' as a kid because of Walker's hometown roots.

"Great movie, I think she did a great job of explaining how the south was in those days or how a child that age would see the south," she added.

Just down the street at the public library, Walker is well known. She has her own case of books that she donated.

LaChelle Jordan is a librarian there.

"I've never seen a town excited about anyone before like this," Jordan said.

Jordan says they're introducing a new generation to Walker's works like 'The Color Purple.'

"When they ask about it, because they've never seen it before, and we go into details about it, and their eyes light up, because it's such a popular movie," Jordan said.

Folks hope Walker's eyes will light up when she sees the banners and love this town has for their favorite author.


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