Poet, novelist, and essayist Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. When she arrived in New York City, it was clear that American English would be a hill to climb. “I couldn’t tell where one word ended and another began,” she says. This, she believes, is what led her to become a writer as she paid close attention to every word (great training for a writer). She also discovered the welcoming world of the imagination and a love for books. She is the author of six novels, three books of nonfiction, three collections of poetry, and eleven books for children and young adults.
Alvarez taught and mentored writers in schools and communities across America and, until her retirement in 2016, was a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College. Her work has garnered wide recognition, including a Latina Leader Award in Literature from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, the Woman of the Year by Latina magazine, and inclusion in the New York Public Library’s program “The Hand of the Poet: Original Manuscripts by 100 Masters, from John Donne to Julia Alvarez.” In theTime of the Butterflies, with over one million copies in print, was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its national Big Read program, and in 2013 President Obama awarded Alvarez the National Medal of Arts in recognition of her extraordinary storytelling. Afterlife, Alvarez's newest book, will be available Spring 2020.