2011 Keynote Speaker
2012 Keynote Speaker
Born in New York City in 1950, Julia Alvarez considers herself to be an American though she spent the first ten years of her life in her family's native country, the Dominican Republic. In 1960, her family was forced to flee the Dominican Republic and immigrate to the United States because of Alvarez's father's involvement in an underground plot to overthrow the dictator of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina.
Her first novel, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, published in 1991, won a PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award. More novels followed: In the Time of Butterflies in 1994, iYo! in 1997, In the Name of Salomé in 2000 and Saving the World in 2006. Alvarez has written books for children, including The Secret Footprints (2000), How Tía Lola Came to Visit/Stay (2001), and three novels for young adults: Before We Were Free (2002), Finding Miracles (2004) and Return to Sender (2009). She has also compiled a book of her essays, Something to Declare, in 1998, two volumes of non-fiction, Once Upon a Quinceañera (2007) and A Wedding in Haiti (2012), and five collections of poetry, including The Woman I Kept to Myself in 2004. She and her husband, Bill Eichner, founded Alta Gracia, a sustainable farm in the Dominican Republic that produces organic coffee and also serves as a literacy center. She currently lives in Vermont, where she is a writer in residence at Middlebury College.