Center withdraws speech invite for Alice Walker

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan’s Center for the Education of Women has withdrawn an invitation for Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker to speak at its 50th anniversary event next year.

The center’s director Gloria D. Thomas said in a statement on the center’s website she didn’t think “The Color Purple” author would be the “optimum choice for the celebratory nature of our 50th anniversary event.” Thomas apologized for how the invitation was handled.

Walker said on her blog that her agent notified her that the invitation was withdrawn because of how donors interpreted her past comments about Israel.

Thomas says donors had “no bearing” on the decision and the center hopes Walker will speak another time. AnnArbor.com reported the decision Thursday.

“The Color Purple” was a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1983.

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