Julia Alvarez was born on March 27, 1950, in New York City. The theme of being caught between two cultures can be found throughout Alvarez's work. She explored this in her first novel, How the García Girls Lost Their Accents (1991). Her reading audience continued to grow with her second novel, In the Time of Butterflies, published in 1994. Several more acclaimed works of fiction have followed.
Early Life and Education
Born on March 27, 1950, in New York City, Julia Alvarez was raised in the Dominican Republic, but had to leave the country when she was 10 years old; her family had supported an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow dictator Rafael Trujillo, and then fled to Brooklyn, New York. Struggling at first to adapt to her new home, Alvarez graduated from Middlebury College in 1971, and went on to earn a master's degree from Syracuse University in 1975.
The theme of being caught between two cultures can be found throughout Alvarez's poetry and fiction work. She explored this cultural divide in her first novel, How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, published in 1991, which garnered critical and commercial success. Her reading audience continued to grow with her second novel, In the Time of Butterflies, published in 1994. Several more works of fiction have followed, including Saving the World (2006), earning Alvarez more praise and fans worldwide.
A versatile artist, Alvarez has created books for children, including The Secret Footprints (2000) and Tía Lola Came to Visit Stay (2001), and a novel for young adults, Before We Were Free (2002). She also writes essays and poetry. Her latest volume of poetry, The Woman I Kept to Myself, was published in 2004.
Personal Life and Other Roles
Married to Bill Eichner since 1989, Julia Alvarez lives in Vermont. In recent years, she has served as a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College.
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