Julia Alvarez Awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama


On Monday, July 28, 2014, President Barack Obama presented Julia Alvarez, the Dominican-American poet, novelist, and essayist with the National Medal of Arts.

Alvarez was recognized for her contributions in storytelling, poetry and prose.

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.

The National Medal of Arts is an award and title created by the United States Congress in 1984, for the purpose of honoring artists and patrons of the arts.

Julia Alvarez was born on March 27, 1950, in New York City, and raised in the Dominican Republic. When she was 10 years old, Alvarez had to leave the Dominican Republic, after her father had supported an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow dictator Rafael Trujillo. She graduated from Middlebury College in 1971, and went on to earn a master's degree from Syracuse University in 1975.

In 1991, Alvarez published her critically acclaimed novel, How the GarcĂ­a Girls Lost Their Accents. And in 1994, she published, In the Time of Butterflies.