The FIU Creative Writing Program honored author Julia Alvarez with the 2019 Lawrence A. Sanders Award in Fiction.
Alvarez is a poet, novelist and essayist. She was born in New York and raised in the Dominican Republic until age 10 when her father’s involvement in the rebellion against dictator Rafael Trujillo forced her family to flee the country. Many of her works have won awards and are influenced by her experiences as a first generation Dominican in the United States.
She is best known for Yo! and How the García Girls Lost Their Accents. Her novel, In the Time of the Butterflies, is a fictional account of how the Mirabal sisters, known as “The Butterflies,” led an underground movement against Trujillo. Trujillo had them assassinated in 1960. In 2001, the novel was turned into a feature film starring Marc Anthony, Salma Hayek and Edward James Olmos.
Awarded by the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English, the Lawrence A. Sanders Award in Fiction honors a writer of fiction identified by the program whose work combines literary excellence with popular appeal. The award is supported by a grant from the Lawrence A. Sanders Foundation. Previous award recipients include Isabel Allende, Pat Conroy, Richard Ford, Creative Writing Program alumnus Dennis Lehane, Tim O’Brien, Michael Ondaatje, Amy Tan and Scott Turow.