San Miguel Reads The World Has Changed: Conversations with Alice Walker
By Diana Berman
The fifth annual San Miguel Big Read is delighted to announce that our featured writer this year is the internationally renowned author Alice Walker with her book, The World Has Changed: Conversations with Alice Walker. Walker will present a keynote address at the San Miguel Writers’ Conference on February 11, 2015, at 6pm in the Real de Minas ballroom here in San Miguel.
The San Miguel Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival Presents:
The Fifth Annual Big Read Launch Event
Featuring: The World Has Changed: Conversations with Alice Walker
Thu, Jan 8, 5pm
Hotel La Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio 15
Walker is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Color Purple, along with more than thirty other books including novels, short stories, poetry, and nonfiction. The Big Read selection for this year, The World has Changed, brings to light the heart and mind of one of the world’s most celebrated living writers, and the vision underpinning her extraordinary body of work. The book presents conversations between Walker and other significant literary and cultural figures, including Isabel Allende and Howard Zinn. Arranged chronologically from 1973 through 2009, the conversations reflect different stages of Walker’s artistic and spiritual development. The book promises to add context and understanding to Walker’s keynote presentation entitled, “Infinite Grace: The Inexhaustible Wonder of Writing.” Rather than a conventional keynote address, Walker’s keynote will be a conversation with local writer Carol Merchasin, author of a collection of essays entitled, This is Mexico.
Leading up to Walker’s appearance in San Miguel, the Big Read is presenting two pre-conference programs to provide an in-depth introduction to Alice Walker. The first program is a comprehensive overview of Walker’s life, to be presented at the Santa Ana Theater January 19 at 5pm. The PBS American Masters video, entitled Truth In Beauty: The Life of Alice Walker, is the story of Walker’s life from her youth as a farm girl in the rural South through college, the Civil Right’s Movement, and her participation in the feminist movement. The video also addresses the publication of The Color Purple, Walker’s activist interest in and book about genital mutilation in Africa, and the severe personal criticism that resulted. Told through photos, interviews of social and literary figures such as Howard Zinn, Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, as well as some of Walker’s poems, it is a truly beautiful, insightful and honest film.
The second pre-conference program is a presentation of Walker’s famous film, The Color Purple, also at the Santa Ana, on January 26 at 5pm.
This year, the conference presents Gloria Steinem as the keynote speaker. The Big Read will include a special program highlighting Steinem’s enormous contribution to the feminist movement through a pastiche of interviews with her that highlights the development of the movement and its evolution since the 1960s. Steinem’s own present and future goals will also be addressed. This third pre-conference program will take place on February 2 at 5 pm at the Santa Ana.
Big Read Book Groups
The launch of the Big Read is a community-wide program that will take place at the Literary Sala’s regular monthly event at the Hotel Posada de la Aldea on January 8 at 5pm. At that time Bobbi Salisch will offer sign-up sheets for one-time book groups that will meet to discuss Walker’s book. Discussion questions will also be available for the use of book groups. Walker’s book will be for sale at this meeting. Participation in a Big Read book group (or your own book group that might chose to read the Big Read selection), reviewing the discussion questions, and attending the special Big Read pre-conference programs will enrich your knowledge of these two great authors, Walker and Steinem, and add context to your reading of their work.
Book Club Boot Camp
Existing book groups will also be interested in attending the Book Club Boot Camp, a special part of the Writers’ Conference, open to the public. Offering guidelines and suggestions for enriching your Book Group experience, it will take place on Saturday, February 14 at 11am in the Real de Minas Hotel ballroom. Tickets are available online at www.sanmiguelwritersconference.org. They will also be for sale the morning of the event at the registration tent behind the hotel.