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The Center for Fiction Presents Julia Alvarez on The Cemetery of Untold Stories with Edwidge Danticat

Tuesday, 7:00 pm EST April 2, 2024

The Center for Fiction
& Livestreamed

Julia Alvarez, literary icon and author of In the Time of the Butterflies, joins The Center for Fiction to discuss her magical new novel, The Cemetery of Untold Stories. Alvarez’s highly anticipated new work follows Alma Cruz, a writer who wants to lay her untold stories to rest by creating a graveyard where she buries her unfinished drafts and manuscripts. But despite their burial, Alma’s characters come to life, defying their author by sharing their secret stories. Set in Alvarez’s homeland of the Dominican Republic, the novel is a heartfelt love letter to storytelling and its power to bring people together. Alvarez is joined in conversation by acclaimed author, Edwidge Danticat (Breath, Eyes, Memory). Alvarez and Danticat, two esteemed authors of Caribbean American fiction, sit down for a rousing discussion about the novel and its questions regarding whose stories get to be told and what happens if our tales end. After the conversation, Alvarez will sign books.

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In Conversation

  • Julia Alvarez © Todd Balfour for Middlebury College

    Julia Alvarez

    Julia Alvarez

    Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. She is the author of six novels, three books of nonfiction, three collections of poetry, and eleven books for children and young adults. She has taught and mentored writers in schools and communities across America and, until her retirement in 2016, was a writer in residence at Middlebury College. Her work has garnered wide recognition, including a Latina Leader Award in Literature from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, the Woman of the Year by Latina magazine, and inclusion in the New York Public Library’s program “The Hand of the Poet: Original Manuscripts by 100 Masters, from John Donne to Julia Alvarez.” In the Time of the Butterflies, with over one million copies in print, was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its national Big Read program, and in 2013 President Obama awarded Alvarez the National Medal of Arts in recognition of her extraordinary storytelling.

    Photo Credit: Todd Balfour

  • danticat-edwidge.demme-jonathan

    Edwidge Danticat

    Edwidge Danticat

    Edwidge Danticat is the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection, Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist, The Farming of Bones, an American Book Award winner; the novels-in-stories, The Dew Breaker, Claire of the Sea Light, and The Art of Death, a National Book Critics Circle finalist for Criticism. She has written seven books for children and young adults, a travel narrative, After the Dance, and a collection of essays, Create Dangerously. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. Her story collection, Everything Inside, was a 2020 winner of The Story Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Prize. She is a 2009 MacArthur Fellow, and is currently the Wun Tsun Tam Mellon Professor of the Humanities in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University.

    Photo Credit: Jonathan Demme