Home Book Review Book Review: The World Has Changed: Conversations With Alice Walker

Book Review: The World Has Changed: Conversations With Alice Walker

by Vidya Sury March 5, 2014 23 comments
Alice Walker The World Has Changed Vidya Sury

Today, I am sharing a beautiful book “The World Has Changed: Conversations With Alice Walker“. Alice Walker is an acclaimed American author, poet, feminist and activist, who won the Pulitzer Prize in Literature at the age of thirty-nine.

She is considered one of our most extraordinary living writers and known for her literary gifts, from her discussions of black identity and feminism to ruminations on suffering and joy.

Since her first short story, “To Hell with Dying,” which was “discovered” by the poet Langston Hughes in 1967 to The Color Purple and, more recently, her bestselling children’s book, “Why War Is Never a Good Idea,” Walker has inspired, critiqued, and pushed the limits of storytelling.

The World Has Changed: Conversations With Alice Walker

The World Has Changed Vidya Sury

The book, The World Has Changed Conversations With Alice Walker features a series of fascinating conversations with her, offering an insight into her career and her personal and political development and includes compelling conversations between Walker and other significant literary and cultural figures, including Gloria Steinem, Howard Zinn, Pema Chodron, Claudia Tate, Margo Jefferson, William Ferris, Paula Giddings, and Amy Goodman.

It also has a chronology of her life and an succint biographical essay by scholar Rudolph P. Byrd discussing her work and its influences besides describing the writer through her personal stories: from her early family life in Georgia and the accident that caused her to lose vision in her right eye as an eight-year-old, to her marriage to civil rights attorney Mel Leventhal, including the text of a remarkable letter she wrote to her mother-in-law, who was deeply opposed to the interracial marriage of her son; from her years at Spelman and then Sarah Lawrence College, to her years as a teacher and being the first to teach a course on black women’s literature; and finally, from her time as an editor at Ms. Magazine to her continuing activist work and humanitarian views that permeate her work.

The book concludes with a final conversation with Byrd in which Walker reflects on the election of Barack Obama as president, on the books that have influenced her most, on her preoccupations as an artist, and – on raising chickens.

Alice Walker’s energy is tangible in the book and shows her as a fascinating and evolving personality. I found the book unusual because it gives an insight into her, as an individual through her conversations with other great personalities. I am a fan of biographies and think this one is exceptional. The interviews span from 1973-2009 – there are 19 in all. Alice Walker comes across as an honest, forthright and outspoken person who speaks with conviction. She is wise and inspiring. She candidly shares her experiences without reserve. I loved her grace, humility and authentic self.

It is a great book!


I am delighted to share one of Alice Walker’s poems from her book Hard Times Require Furious Dancing. The poem made me reflect and rejoice. Enjoy!

By Alice Walker
from her book Hard Times Require Furious Dancing

The world has changed:
Wake up & smell
The possibility.

The world
has changed:
It did not

your prayers
your faith
your determination
in liberation
through the years
that had

The world has changed:
It did not change
of self
it did not

The world has
Wake up!
Give yourself
the gift
of a new

The world has changed:
This does not mean
you were never

The world
has changed:
Resist the siren

The world has changed:
Don’t let
to it.

And now, some inspiring quotes by Alice Walker

Alice walker quote 2

Here is one of my very favorites!

Alice walker quote


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richa singh March 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm

A beautiful review. I have not read this book but color purple made me a huge fan of Alice walker. The poetry literally gave me gooseflesh, such inspiring words… thank you for sharing it with us 🙂

Vidya Sury March 5, 2014 at 4:23 pm

It is great, Richa. When I read your newsletter yesterday mentioning The Colour Purple, I was smiling, thinking what a coincidence I had chosen another book by Alice Walker!

🙂 Would love to know what you think!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Make Every Moment Count

Shailaja V March 5, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Simply loved this review, Vidya. You have said it all. That quote on writing is my new favourite and resonates with what we do as bloggers. Lovely!
Shailaja V recently posted…Book review- Draupadi: The Fire-Born Princess

Vidya Sury March 5, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Yes Shailaja! I have a good mind to make a poster and frame it. Hugs! So happy you came by!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Forgive and Forget – Is it possible?

Proactive Indian March 5, 2014 at 12:47 pm

I’ll certainly try to read this book.

The poem ‘THE WORLD HAS CHANGED’ is really inspiring. I’m tempted to modify it a bit to ‘The World Will Change’.

Great quotes! I particularly liked the part “… if you write what you need to write, as opposed to what will make money, or what will make fame.”
Proactive Indian recently posted…Getting happiness!

Vidya Sury March 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm

I try my best to stick to that quote, Pro! I would love to see your poem! 🙂 It is always great to read about someone who does not fear standing up to what she believes in. The icing on the cake is – she is alive and well! 🙂
Vidya Sury recently posted…Love Endures

Psych Babbler March 5, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Love that quote on happiness!

I haven’t read The Color Purple yet but have been wanting to for years…Alice Walker sounds like such an inspirational woman. Trying to figure out whether it would be better to read this before her other books or go the other way around!
Psych Babbler recently posted…We need to talk about Kevin. And Lionel Shriver

Vidya Sury March 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Tell you what, Psych – see the movie The Colour Purple. Then read this book. And then read The Colour Purple. 😀 Hugs!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Forgive and Forget – Is it possible?

Shilpa Garg March 5, 2014 at 1:03 pm

The Color Purple is on my wishlist. Alice Walker comes across as a woman who is strong and the quotes you shared here are so inspiring. Will get hold of her book soon. Thanks for a wonderful review 🙂
Shilpa Garg recently posted…Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister by Tabrik C

Vidya Sury March 5, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Thank you, Shilpa! I hope you read that book and review it!
Vidya Sury recently posted…What Made You Smile Recently?

Usha Menon March 5, 2014 at 1:17 pm

A very good review. My daughter was reading this book ,last time when I met her.
I have told her to give the book to me after she is done with.
Usha Menon recently posted…What teachers make a review

Vidya Sury March 5, 2014 at 4:39 pm

You’re going to love it, Mrs.Usha! 🙂 Thank you for dropping by!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Ubuntu – I am Because We Are

Bhavya March 5, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Ever since the day I read Colour Purple, I knew she was one woman worth reckoning. Thanks for sharing about this one Vidya 🙂

Vidya Sury March 5, 2014 at 4:42 pm

The more I read about her, the more I love her. She’s written quite a few books, including books for children! 🙂 Thank you Bhavya!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Make Every Moment Count

Meena Menon March 5, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Have read n loved color purple! Now to pick this up….
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Vidya Sury March 5, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Hugs Meena! GO for it!
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Roshan R March 5, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Thanks for the review… am looking for something inspiring to read presently…
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Talya Tate Boerner March 5, 2014 at 7:00 pm

I am putting this on my list. Great quotes too. Thanks for sharing.
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richmiraclefiles March 5, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Hi Vidya
Thanks for sharing an interesting review of an accomplished literateur like Alice Walker.Her poetry is telling and surely her quotes esp the second one makes a dent on your heart.
richmiraclefiles recently posted…Delink From Your Inner Turmoil and Stay Calm

MIchelle Liew March 5, 2014 at 8:47 pm

he sounds like a great woman, Vidya!! Her insights must be invaluable.
MIchelle Liew recently posted…A review of Barbara J Dzikowski’s Searching for Lincoln’s Ghost

Sulekha March 6, 2014 at 12:39 am

A lovely choice of a book. Loved your review and Alice Walker too, want to read this very interesting book.The quote at the end is so amazing and true.

Pixie March 6, 2014 at 7:28 am

I saw this book at the library as a “staff pick” and was curious. Now, your fabulous review has helped me make up my mind!
Will pick it up 🙂

vishalbheeroo March 6, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Thanks for sharing, Vidya:) Love the way you wrote the review and it’s quite tempting to read this one:)
vishalbheeroo recently posted…Festival of Words 3-Day 4-Book Review ‘The Unsent Life’


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