Monday, March 28, 2011

(I Won a Book!) Julia Alvarez Interviewed by Edwidge Danticat

I won a book.  *smiles and dances* Timing is everything. ; )

Last week, Being Latino promoted on their blog, a live webcast interview of Julia Alvarez that was set to take place later that evening on the Algonquin Books' website. They gave away two copies of Alvarez's novel, IN THE TIME OF THE BUTTERFLIES, to the first two lucky readers to post the names of the Mirabal Sisters, las Mariposas, who were the inspiration behind this timeless book club favorite.

 *still dancing*

Thank you for the chance to win! I can't wait to read it.

(See Original Post: The Brilliant Julia Alvarez by Charlie Vazquez)

In this webcast, Julia Alvarez is interviewed by Haitian author Edwidge Danticat. They not only discuss Alvarez's inspiration behind the "butterflies," but also the effect the intertwined histories of the Dominican Republic and Haiti have had on their writing. In a stirring exchange between the two women, Alvarez shares a dream she has about the border that separates their two countries.

I hope you enjoy this webcast as much as I did, not only for the history lesson, but also to get a glimpse into Alvarez's creative mind: how she "receives" characters, organizes her stories and picks point-of-view.

I've included a link here to the webcast and a bulleted summary of their discussion.
  • The Mirabal Sisters
  • Creative process (she made me smile)
  • Challenges faced by authors who write historical fiction
  • Truth according to "character"
  • Movie adaptation of her novel
  • "Memory"
  • The Haitian Massacre of 1937
  • Machismo in the D.R. during Rafael Trujillo's dictatorship
  • Her current project ; )
  • Stay for the Q&A -- Alvarez answers some tough questions (e.g. her response to books published by Trujillo's descendants, the importance of respecting privacy, where she sees Latino literature going and what she's been reading.)
I plan on reading IN THE TIME OF THE BUTTERFLIES during the month of May. Let me know if you'd like to read along!

"Grant me the intelligence and the patience to find the true pattern."
-- Mayan Weaver's Prayer


  • ONCE UPON A QUINCEAÑERA: Coming of Age in the USA (non-fiction): This is the book that led me to me discover this wonderful author. It's a revealing, sometimes disturbing report (with statistics) of the challenges facing young Latinas, and how the Quinceañera, a fifteen-year-old girl's "coming out" party might be sending our daughters the wrong message. Why not make education the priority, instead?
  • HOW THE GARCIA GIRLS LOST THEIR ACCENTS: This story unfolds in a reverse timeline. It follows the Garcia family's defection from the Dominican Republic to the U.S. and honestly portrays the challenges the four daughters face adapting to a new culture.