Julia Alvarez 25th Anniversary Edition Algonquin Books


"In 1960, a few months after my family fled the dictatorship of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, the three Mirabal sisters were brutally murdered. Founders of the underground, las Mariposas (the Butterflies, their code name) had inspired resistance cells throughout the country. (My father had joined one of these cells, which was cracked by the SIM, the secret police, in the summer of 1960 — the reason we were forced to flee.) This novel tells the Mirabal story through the lens of fiction. Needless to say, this book is one I felt compelled to write."

- Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez: In the Time of the Butterflies 25th Anniversary

Wednesday April 10, 2019
07:00 pm

Tags: Event

Each year thousands of readers draw life-changing inspiration from In the Time of the Butterflies. Today there are nearly one million copies in print of Julia Alvarez’s extraordinary novel. The 25th-anniversary edition is a celebration of a contemporary classic written by one of the most beloved Latinx writers in the world. Julia Alvarez is 2013 National Medal of Arts recipient (awarded by President Obama) as well as many other honors. In the Time of the Butterflies is a Big Read Selection from the National Education Association and it is popular one-book one-community read in cities across the country. It has been widely adopted for both high school and college courses and is a perennial book club favorite.


Told in the voices of the revolutionary Mirabal sisters—known as The Butterflies—during Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s oppressive regime in the Dominican Republic in the mid-20th century, In the Time of the Butterflies continues to speak volumes to readers today, beautifully exploring themes of resistance, sisterhood, and strength.


Alvarez sat with Concepción de León to discuss and reflect on the impact of In the Time of the Butterflies in its 25th year of English circulation.


Photo by Bill EichnerJULIA ALVAREZ'S first novel, How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, received considerable attention upon its publication in 1991, winning a  PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for excellence in multicultural literature. Her audience continued to grow with the publication of her widely revered novel In the Time of the Butterflies, which was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Library of Congress for its national Big Read program. A versatile artist, Alvarez has written seven books for children, including The Tía Lola Stories and Where Do They Go?; as well as novels for young adults, such as Before We Were Free and Return to Sender. She has also written nonfiction books, including Once Upon A Quinceañera: Coming of Age in the USA and A Wedding in Haiti; as well as five collections of poetry including, The Woman I Kept to Myself.


Concepción de LeónConcepción de León is a Digital Staff Writer at The New York Times Books, covering literary news and culture. She also curates El Espace (pronounced “eh-space”), a weekly NYT column for a Latinx audience. In a past life, she edited the work and money pages at Glamour magazine.