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Writer Julia Alvarez to speak on Wed., Oct. 21

Start Date: October 21 7:00 PM
This event is open to the public

Award-winning writer and Abbot Academy alumna Julia Alvarez ’67 will  talk on Wednesday evening, October 21 about how she uses storytelling to share stories of her family and her native country and to raise awareness of humanitarian causes. The talk, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. in Kemper Auditorium in the Elson Art Center on Chapel Avenue on the campus of Phillips Academy.

Alvarez is working to spread the word about the U.N. Secretary-General's Campaign, called UNiTE to End Violence Against Women, and mobilize support for International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, which kicks off 16 days of activism against gender-based violence and culminates in Human Rights Day on December 10.

Alvarez is also a cofounder of the non-profit Border of Lights, which was formed in 2012 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Haitian Massacre, during which thousands of Haitians and their Dominican-born descendants were murdered. Today, the organization sponsors education and information forums to promote peace and justice between the people of Haiti and the Dominican as well as between people who live along troubled borders around the world.

Following her talk, the talented poet, novelist and essayist will be available to sign copies of her books, which include How the Garciá Girls Lost Their Accents (1991), In the Time of the Butterflies (1994), and The Woman I Kept to Myself (2004). Her most recent book, A Wedding in Haiti, portrays the Dominican Republic's troubled relations with Haiti through a story of friendship and love. Over the years, Alvarez’s storytelling skills have earned her numerous awards, among them the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Excellence in American Literature, the Hispanic Heritage Award, and the 2014 National Medal of Arts.

Alvarez, whose parents are native Dominicans, was born in New York City but spent her early childhood in the Dominican. In 1960, she and her family were forced to flee to the United States after her father participated in a failed plot to overthrow the island’s military dictator, Rafael Trujillo. Upon graduating from Abbot Academy in 1967, Alvarez continued her studies at Connecticut College and transferred to Middlebury College to complete her BA degree. She earned a master’s degree in creative writing from Syracuse University.

In addition to her writing career, Alvarez currently holds the position of writer in residence at Middlebury College, where she teaches creative writing. She has served as a judge for literary awards such as the PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award and the Casa de las Américas Prize, and gives readings and lectures across the country. She and her partner, Bill Eichner, created Alta Gracia, a farm-literacy center dedicated to the promotion of environmental sustainability, literacy, and education worldwide.

In a special event that will be held prior to her talk, Alvarez will be presented with the Andover Alumni Award of Distinction, an honor bestowed on alums who have served with distinction in their fields of endeavor and whose accomplishments and contributions have embodied the values of Andover/Abbot and have had a significant positive impact on their communities, society, or the world.

Alvarez’s talk is sponsored by the Rogers Fund.


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