Biography of Julia Alvarez

Author of In the Time of the Butterflies

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"I am a Dominican, hyphen, American. As a fiction writer, I find that the most exciting things happen in the realm of that hyphen--the place where two worlds collide or blend together."


  • Born on March 27, 1950 in New York City
  • Moved to Dominican Republic, where her parents were from at 3 months old
  • Family returned to New York in 1960 to escape Trujillo's regime


  • Difficult time in middle school and junior high due to language barriers, experienced bullying
  • Began college at Connecticut College, but transferred after 2 years
  • 1971 - Graduated from Middlebury College
  • 1975 - Earned master's degree from Syracruse University


Common Themes

  • Multicultural lifestyle
  • Similarities among all cultures
  • Empowerment of women

Works of Fiction

  • How the García Girls Lost Their Accents (1991)
  • In the Time of the Butterflies (1994)
  • ¡YO! (1997)
  • Saving the World (2006)


  • Homecoming (1984)
  • The Other Side/El Otro Lado (1995)
  • The Woman I Kept to Myself (2004)

"Obviously, these sisters, who fought one tyrant, have served as models for women fighting against injustices of all kinds."

Julia Alvarez talks about writing

"So what you will find here are the Mirabals of my creation, made up but, I hope, true to the spirit of the real Mirabals."

Connection to Novel

  • Lived in the Dominican Republic during the 1950s
  • Alvarez's father was involved in an underground movement to bring down Trujillo and his regime
  • Escaped the SIM and fled to the United States four months before the murder of the Mirabal sisters
  • Often heard stories of the sisters' bravery in such dangerous circumstances
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