Vermont writer wins National Medal of the Arts
The Associated Press | July 28,2014
MIDDLEBURY — Novelist, poet and Middlebury College instructor Julia Alvarez has won a National Medal of the Arts.
Alvarez, who lives in Weybridge, will receive the award along with other recipients at a White House ceremony on Monday.
Alvarez is author of “How The García Girls Lost Their Accents” and “In the Time of the Butterflies.” Her latest book, “A Wedding in Haiti: The Story of a Friendship,” is a nonfiction story that starts at a farm and literacy project she and her husband set up in the Dominican Republic.
The president awards the National Medal of the Art to individuals or groups who are “deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States.” It’s the highest award the federal government gives out for the arts.
Alvarez is being recognized for “extraordinary storytelling.” The 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 said there are times in life that are “markers” and this is one such moment: a black president honoring a writer from an immigrant family. Alvarez was born in New York City and moved with her family back to the Dominican Republic at one month old, the Burlington Free Press reported.
“At this point in our lives, it’s really wonderful to get this. It’s not about me. It’s about all the people that have been with me from the very beginning,” Alvarez said.
Bill T. Jones, a dancer and choreographer who has worked on some projects commissioned by the Flynn Center in Burlington, will also be honored Monday.
The event will be shown live at WH.gov/Live at 3 p.m. on Monday.