Julia Alvarez was born in New York City, and was raised between the Dominican Republic and New York. A poet, novelist, activist, and essayist, Alvarez holds a BA from Middlebury College and an MFA from Syracuse University.
She is the author of the poetry collections The Woman I Kept to Myself (Shannon Ravenel, 2011), Homecoming: New and Collected Poems (Plume, 1996), and The Other Side (El Otro Lado) (Dutton, 1995), as well as six novels and three books of nonfiction.
Alvarez is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2013 National Medal of Arts, a Latina Leader Award in Literature from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, and a National Medal of the Arts, awarded by President Barack Obama. She has also received grants from the the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ingram Merrill Foundation.
Of her work, her National Endowment for the Arts award citation says, "In poetry and in prose, Ms. Alvarez explores themes of identity, family, and cultural divides. She illustrates the complexity of navigating two worlds and reveals the human capacity for strength in the face of oppression."
Alvarez currently serves as one of the judges for the Treehouse Climate Action Poem Prize, alongside Bill McKibben. A co-founder of Border of Lights, she is the emeritus writer-in-residence at Middlebury College and lives on a farm in Vermont with her husband.