Julia Alvarez: Biography

Julia Alvarez

27 mar 1950

Julia Alvarez was born in New York City but raised in the Dominican Republic. When she was 10 years old, her family fled back to the USA and she was introduced to the American school system in the USA. Alvarez has said that it wasn’t another author who is responsible for her inspiration to write, but rather her classmates at that first school she attended in the US. Since she had very little English when she arrived, she had to listen carefully to every word said, so she began to notice the detail in words, not just the necessity. This fascination with language was the basis of her desire to become a writer.

It was not until she was 41 years old that she was finally given a book deal, after having had 20 years of writing and teaching experience.

Julia Alvarez is best known for her novels How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies. How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents was published in 1991 and was the first novel to be published in English by a Dominican author. It is a novel which draws heavily on Alvarez’s personal experiences adapting to a different culture at such a young age. It was recognised as an American Library Association Notable Book. Her second book, In the Time of the Butterflies, is based on historical events and surrounds the death of the Mirabal sisters under the dictatorship of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic.

Julia Alvarez now lives with her husband Bill Eichner on a farm in Vermont.