Picture of author.

Julia Alvarez

Autor(a) de In the Time of the Butterflies

34+ Works 15,822 Membros 455 Críticas 34 Favorited

About the Author

Julia Alvarez was born in New York City on March 27, 1950 and was raised in the Dominican Republic. Before becoming a full-time writer, she traveled across the country with poetry-in-the-schools programs and then taught at the high school level and the college level. In 1991, she earned tenure at mostrar mais Middlebury College and published her first book How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent, which won the PEN Oakland/Jefferson Miles Award for excellence in 1991. Her other works include In the Time of the Butterflies, The Other Side of El Otro Lado, and Once upon a Quinceañera: Coming of Age in the USA. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos
Image credit: Photo copyright © Bill Eichner www.juliaalvarez.com


Obras por Julia Alvarez

In the Time of the Butterflies (1994) 4,487 exemplares
Before We Were Free (2002) 1,252 exemplares
How Tía Lola Came to [Visit] Stay (2001) 938 exemplares
Return to Sender (2009) 914 exemplares
¡Yo! (1997) 738 exemplares
In the Name of Salome (2000) 693 exemplares
Saving the World (2006) 635 exemplares
Afterlife (2020) 524 exemplares
Finding Miracles (2004) 328 exemplares
Something to Declare: Essays (1998) 307 exemplares
The Secret Footprints (2000) 162 exemplares
A Cafecito Story (2001) 149 exemplares
A Wedding in Haiti (2012) 145 exemplares

Associated Works

The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction (1983) — Contribuidor — 1,134 exemplares
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1995) — Contribuidor, algumas edições926 exemplares
The Future Dictionary of America (2004) — Contribuidor — 628 exemplares
Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories (1992) — Contribuidor — 399 exemplares
Cries of the Spirit: A Celebration of Women's Spirituality (2000) — Contribuidor — 372 exemplares
Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation (2017) — Contribuidor — 178 exemplares
This Is My Best: Great Writers Share Their Favorite Work (2004) — Contribuidor — 160 exemplares
Half and Half: Writers on Growing Up Biracial and Bicultural (1998) — Contribuidor — 138 exemplares
Growing Up Latino: Memoirs and Stories (1993) — Contribuidor — 130 exemplares
Coming of Age in America: A Multicultural Anthology (1994) — Contribuidor — 96 exemplares
Our Shadows Have Claws: 15 Latin American Monster Stories (2022) — Contribuidor — 87 exemplares
Rebel Angels: 25 Poets of the New Formalism (1996) — Contribuidor — 81 exemplares
The Best American Poetry 2018 (2018) — Contribuidor — 78 exemplares
It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art (2018) — Contribuidor — 73 exemplares
The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature (2010) — Contribuidor — 58 exemplares
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Selected Works (1707) — Introdução — 56 exemplares
An Uncertain Inheritance: Writers on Caring for Family (2007) — Contribuidor — 44 exemplares
In the Time of the Butterflies [2001 film] (2002) — Original novel — 43 exemplares
The Best American Poetry 2020 (2020) — Contribuidor — 42 exemplares
Dream Me Home Safely: Writers on Growing Up in America (2003) — Contribuidor — 40 exemplares
Floricanto Si!: U.S. Latina Poetry (1998) — Contribuidor — 27 exemplares
The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review (2008) — Contribuidor — 27 exemplares
The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks (2017) — Contribuidor — 17 exemplares
Once Upon a Childhood: Stories and Memories of American Youth (2004) — Contribuidor — 15 exemplares
A Line of Cutting Women (1998) — Contribuidor — 14 exemplares
Caribbean Connections: The Dominican Republic (2005) — Prefácio — 11 exemplares
Love Can Be: A Literary Collection about Our Animals (2018) — Contribuidor — 7 exemplares
Contemporary Vermont Fiction: An Anthology (2014) — Contribuidor — 5 exemplares


a ler (881) América Latina (174) antologia (442) Caribe (105) coming of age (66) contos (371) Dominican (67) ensaios (120) Escrita (113) Espanhol (149) Família (238) Ficção (1,711) Ficção histórica (459) Hispânicos (63) Humor (97) Imigração (179) immigrants (130) Latin American (62) Latino (137) Latinx (100) lido (157) Literatura (279) Livro didático (85) Memórias (62) mulheres (162) multicultural (84) Não ficção (208) own (87) Poesia (324) Política (94) por ler (87) realistic fiction (185) República Dominicana (681) Revolução (87) Romance (178) sisters (169) Século XX (76) Vermont (72) Ya (76) Ya (70)

Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
USA (birth)
Local de nascimento
New York, New York, USA
Locais de residência
New York, New York, USA
Dominican Republic
Abbot Academy (1967)
University of Connecticut
Middlebury College (1971)
Syracuse University (M.A., Creative Writing, 1975)
business owner
Eichner, Bill (spouse)
Sigma Tau Delta
Prémios e menções honrosas
Benjamin T. Marshall Poetry Prize, Connecticut College, 1968 and 1969
prize from Academy of American Poetry, 1974
creative writing fellowship, Syracuse University, 1974-75
Kenan grant, Phillips Andover Academy, 1980
poetry award, La Reina Press, 1982
exhibition grant, Vermont Arts Council, 1984-85 (mostrar todos 28)
Robert Frost Poetry fellowship, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, 1986
Third Woman Press Award, first prize in narrative, 1986
award for younger writers, General Electric Foundation, 1986
National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1987-88
grant from Ingram Merrill Foundation, 1990
Josephine Miles Award, PEN Oakland, 1991
notable book designation, American Library Association, 1992
notable book designation, 1994, American Library Association
National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, 1995
Best Books for Young Adults designation, 1995, American Library Association, all for In the Time of the Butterflies
Jessica Nobel-Maxwell Poetry Prize, 1995, American Poetry Review
Doctor of Humane Letters, City University of New York, John Jay College, 1996
Alumni Achievement Award, 1996, Middlebury College
Dominican Republic Annual Book Fair, 1997, dedicated to Alvarez's body of work
selected "Woman of the Year," Latina Magazine, 2000
Sor Juana Award, 2002
Hispanic Heritage Award, Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation, 2002
Américas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature, Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs, 2002
Pura Belpre Author Award, American Library Association, 2010, for Return to Sender
F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Fiction (2009)
Pura Belpré Award, American Library Association, 2004
"Twenty-one Classics for the Twenty-first Century" designation, New York Librarians
Susan Bergholz Literary Services

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From 2009 National Book Festival brochure: "Although Julia Alvarez was born in New York City, her family moved to the Dominican Republic shortly after birth, where she spent the majority of her childhood. In 1960, when she was 10, her family returned to the United States, fleeing the Dominican Republic because of her father's involvement in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the dictator Rafael Trujillo. Alvarez calls herself an American, yet her writing bridges the realms of Latina and American culture."



"All stories are good stories if you find the right listener."

I was in awe of Julia Alvarez and Edwidge Danticat's discussion of The Cemetery of Untold Stories at The Center for Fiction. Hearing about the power of storytelling and the importance of oral histories to preserve culture left me inspired and I couldn't wait to meet the characters that I heard so much about.

Reading this one felt like I was listening in on all the good chisme being discussed at a family gathering. I instantly fell in love with Filomena and her ability to receive all the stories from the ghosts of the cemetery. I also fell in love with her own personal story that has yet to be told to the world. It has been difficult to read lately but this completely captivated my attention and I found it so easy to immerse myself in this world and forget everything heavy I was going through in real life. Filomena and Bienvenida are unforgettable and by the end of the book I just couldn't let them go. I find myself wondering about them.

This is a book that is heavily driven by the characters and the stories they share and there is no real plot, but the vibes and the feelings are perfect. I loved how some of the ghost stories were interconnected and how the use of language, including Dominican Spanish, added even more flavor. It wasn't my favorite of Alvarez's work, but it is one that I will always think of because it feels like a warm hug from the Caribbean. Thanks to @algonquinbooks for the gifted copy.

Some thoughts I'm left with are:
• Who decides the validity of stories and oral histories?
• What happens to stories when authors stop writing?
• Every story has its ideal listener, so they all need to be told.
• How do authors reconcile aging and end of life with the amount of untold stories left in them?
• The best stories come from your own families.
• Dominican history has facets that have been erased and can only be uncovered through the stories of ordinary people.
• Where do stories go to die?
• Caribbean stories are a vital part of literary legacy.
• You can't undo harmful history without uncovering stories from different aspects of an event.
• "There are stories in the silence."
… (mais)
Booklover217 | 6 outras críticas | May 13, 2024 |
“It is the responsibility of those who survive the struggle for freedom to give testimony. To tell the story in order to keep alive the memory of the dead.”

Before We Were Free is an award winning YA or middle grade historical fiction set in the Dominican Republic in 1960 and 1961. I read this book as part of my read around the world challenge. As such, I like to find out a little about each country. The Dominican Republic forms the eastern part of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean, with Haiti forming the western part. It was the first place Columbus landed and hence became a Spanish colony for centuries until independence. There has been extensive conflict with Haiti over the years with thousands of lives lost. The original inhabitants of the Dominican Republic were the Taino people. Currently 70% of the population is of mixed race with 58% being of Indigenous American and European ancestry (mestizo) and 12% being African and European mix. The story focuses on the period of Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorship which began in 1930 and lasted until his 1961 assassination (which the locals refer to as “ajusticiamiento," a Spanish word that implies justice being done). The author herself was born in the USA and returned with her parents when she was three months old, to the Dominican Republic where they were born. They were forced to flee the country in 1960, when she was ten years of age, due to her father’s involvement in plans to overthrow the Trujillo regime. Hence the story is in part inspired by personal and family experience.

The main character and narrator is 12 year old Anita de la Torre who begins the story unaware of the political turmoil around her and its meaning. As the book evolves and family members flee to America, she and her family are left behind and Anita gradually comes to understand the danger and secrets surrounding her. The SIM or secret police become a terrifying presence and the threat of permanent disappearance is very real. It was sad to note evidence of distress in each child; with her sister coming out in rashes, her brother perpetually biting his nails and Anita lapsing into a wordless silence. She writes a diary each day only to erase it at the end of each day out of fear of endangering her family. Anita oscillates between a terrifying life of political intrigue and the life and thoughts of a normal teenager with crushes and worries about her appearance. I thought this was an informative and impacting book and I am impressed that some authors are writing middle grade novels like this rather than underestimating their intelligence and peddling endless fluff.
… (mais)
mimbza | 49 outras críticas | Apr 27, 2024 |
I just finished reading The Cemetery of Untold Stories by Julia Alvarez. I can sum up my review in these words, I hoped for more.

The beginning was intriguing, a woman writer who got in a rut after her mother died. Her mother complained about the writer exposing family secrets that should have remained buried. After her mother died she started story after story and re-wrote them but they were never good enough for publication. When she inherited a large parcel of worthless land, she wants to make it into a cemetery for untold stories. The land is cleared and some of them are burned, others were put in a plastic lined grave. She hired a woman to take care of the cemetery.

We learn about the writer's family who are bad characters so when the story shifts to the story of the woman who tends the cemetery, I felt hopeful.

Back history brings us to the story of two women, the elder and younger. The younger had a terrible life, she was not even allowed to kept her first name when her old sister demanded that they trade names.

The history of the two sisters unfolds, I did not like the older sister, you can read and find out why. The younger sister's life becomes pitiful and ultimately disappointing.

I wanted to stop reading after a third of the book but got hopeful when the story turned to the younger sister. I did not like the ending.
… (mais)
Carolee888 | 6 outras críticas | Apr 14, 2024 |

“She needed a place to bury her unfinished work, a space honoring all those characters who had never had the chance to tell their stories. She wanted to bring them home to their mother tongue and land.”

The daughter of Dominican immigrants, renowned Latin American novelist Alma Cruz, decides to relocate to the Dominican Republic after she retires from academia, much to the surprise of her sisters. Despite her successful career as a writer, she carries the burden of several unfinished and abandoned manuscripts that she has decides to lay to rest in a “cemetery” she builds on a piece of land inherited from her late father. Collaborating with a local artist, Alma plans to burn and inter the remains of her notes and manuscripts with artistically sculpted markers for each of her unfinished works. Visitors would be allowed at the cemetery of untold stories but only if they meet some very specific criteria.

“If a story is never told, where does it go?”

Two of the unfinished manuscripts, both of which had a special place in Alma’s heart, don’t burn and are buried as is – one of which was based on the stories shared by her father, Dr. Manuel Cruz, a Dominican immigrant who fled from the Trujillo regime; and the other inspired by the life of Bienvenida Inocencia Ricardo Martinez Trujillo, second wife of former Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. Alma employs Filomena, a lonely woman who has been visiting the cemetery as a groundskeeper. But Filomena does much more than just tend to the property. Capable of hearing the words floating around the cemetery, she lends a sympathetic ear to the interred characters who share their stories with her – stories that inspire her to reflect on her own life.

As the narrative progresses, we follow all of these characters and the history, people and places that have shaped their lives.

An ode to the power of stories, storytelling and orature, The Cemetery of Untold Stories by Julia Alvarez is an exquisitely penned character-driven novel that combines elements of historical fiction, magical realism and family drama. The narrative is presented from multiple perspectives across past and present timelines. As the four separate threads of the story converge and diverge, the narrative explores themes of family and sisterhood, the immigrant experience and how the stories of those who came before us are never truly gone and continue to influence the lives of those they left behind. I loved how the magical realism aspect of this story was executed and appreciated that the author did not resort to melodrama while describing intense emotional moments. Though there are moments where the narrative might come across as disjointed (the narrative does jump timelines a tad abruptly which takes a while to get used to), this does not detract from the overall reading experience. There were a few aspects and storylines that I wished had been developed further, but I was satisfied with how the author chose to bring all of the threads of the story together. With its fascinating premise, complex characters, rich historical context and powerful writing, I found this novel to be a compelling read.

I paired my reading with the audiobook narrated by Alma Cuervo for an engaging immersion reading experience. I should mention, however, that the narration is more in storytelling mode with minimal variations between the character voices. While this itself did not bother me, I feel that given the structure of the novel, it might be difficult to follow the multiple tracks and timelines if one plans to rely solely on the audiobook. I would recommend pairing the book with the audio.

“Seems like everyone who lives has endured some sadness, sometimes buried so deep inside them, even they don’t know it’s there. And if you could hear other people’s stories all the time, what then? Would you understand them better? Would you forgive them?”

Many thanks to Algonquin Books for the digital review copy and RB Media for the ALC via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
… (mais)
srms.reads | 6 outras críticas | Apr 2, 2024 |



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