Julia Alvarez biography

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Julia Alvarez
Brandon Cruz González/EL VOCERO DE PUERTO RICO

Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez Biography

Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. She is the author of six novels, three books of nonfiction, three collections of poetry, and eleven books for children and young adults. She has 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 the Time 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.

Julia Alvarez's website

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Interview

Living the Afterlife: an essay by Julia Alvarez

I've always liked to be prepared: I like to know what to expect, what to pack, who will be at my surprise party. Even as a kid, I wanted a plan, and being a middle sister suited me just fine. Someone was always ahead of me, reporting back on what was to come. When I learned from my older sister about boys and sex, she cautioned that I couldn't think about it because if I did and died right then, I'd go straight to hell. That was terrible news. But I had to think about it, have a plan going forward. My American friend Elizabeth offered to help. We spent an afternoon kissing and petting in a part of the garden Papi had planted, which he called El Paraiso—just practicing, you know.

When the Girl Scouts came to the Dominican Republic, my older sister joined. A few months later, an American mom started a Brownie troop for us younger girls. At our first gathering, the mom explained we were going on a treasure hunt. We were to work together as a team: she'd give us the first clue to puzzle out, which would lead us to the next and the next clue, until finally we'd unearth a buried box full of candies. But I wanted to know where the treasure was beforehand. So I wandered off, searching for any recent disturbance of the ground. Sure ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Julia Alvarez at BookBrowse
Afterlife jacket A Wedding in Haiti jacket Saving The World jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Julia Alvarez but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Helon Habila

    Helon Habila

    Helon Habila is the author of the novels, Waiting for an Angel, Measuring Time, Oil on Water, and Travelers and a nonfiction book, The Chibok Girls. His writing has won numerous awards including the Caine Prize, the ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Afterlife

    Try:
    Travelers
    by Helon Habila

  • Tayari Jones

    Tayari Jones

    New York Times best-selling author, Tayari Jones, is the author of the novels Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow, and An American Marriage. Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times, ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Afterlife

    Try:
    An American Marriage
    by Tayari Jones

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