Julia Alvarez is recognized for her extraordinary storytelling. In poetry and in prose, Ms. Alvarez explores themes of identity, family, and cultural divides. She illustrates the complexity of navigating two worlds and reveals the human capacity for strength in the face of oppression.
Julia Alvarez is the author of novels (How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent, In the Time of Butterflies, iYo!, In the Name of Salomé, and Saving the World), collections of poems (Homecoming, The Other Side/ El Otro Lado, The Woman I kept to Myself), nonfiction books (Something to Declare, Once Upon A Quinceañera: Coming of Age in the USA), and numerous books for young readers (including How Tía Lola Came to Visit/Stay, Before We Were Free, finding miracles, and Return to Sender). Alvarez has won numerous awards for her work, including the Pura Belpré and Américas Awards for her books for young readers, the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature. She is currently a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College. In 1997, with her husband, Bill Eichner, Alvarez established Alta Gracia, a sustainable coffee farm/literacy center in the Dominican Republic.
President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to novelist, poet, and essayist Julia Alvarez in a White House ceremony on July 28, 2014. Photo by Jocelyn Augustino.Hi res version
Photo © Bill Eichner
Writer Julia Alvarez discusses how her life as a reader led to her life as a writer and the rich source material she finds in her family's immigrant experience. [22:05]