Julia Alvarez was born in New York City, but moved to the Dominican Republic when she was three months old. Her father became involved in the underground, and Julia and her family had to hurriedly leave in 1960 to return to the US.
They moved back to New York City and, though Julia knew some English, it was quite an endeavor to enter a classroom and learn how to speak the language exclusively.
"When I'm asked what made me into a writer, I point to the watershed experience of coming to this country. Not understanding the language, I had to pay close attention to each word -- great training for a writer," said Julia. "I also discovered the welcoming world of the imagination and books. There, I sunk my new roots."
She studied writing at Syracrus University and Bread Loaf School of English, and has taught at the university level around the US. She received the National Medal of Arts in 2014. Julia currently lives in Vermont, and is the writer-in-residence at Middlebury College.