Tonight! Our first Algonquin Book Club event: Julia Alvarez in conversation with Edwidge Danticat


Tonight’s the night! Our first Algonquin Book Club event, featuring Julia Alvarez in conversation with Edwidge Danticat about Alvarez’s beloved classic In the Time of the Butterflies. The event, being held at Books & Books in Miami, quickly sold out of all 250 tickets. And it’s no wonder: Alvarez and Danticat are two of today’s most talented contemporary writers. Fortunately, all of our Algonquin Book Club events are streamed live on our Algonquin Book Club website. We hope you’ll join us for tonight’s live webcast at 7:00pm EST. You’ll be able to chat with others who are also tuning in to the webcast, and you’ll be able to ask questions of the author.

Before tuning in, read Alvarez’s original essay about In the Time of the Butterflies here. And you can check out wine and recipe suggestions, inspired by In the Time of the Butterflies–some of the recipes are by Julia Alvarez and some are favorite dishes of the Mirabal sisters, the historical characters portrayed in the novel.

NBC Miami recently interviewed Alvarez about tonight’s event. A few of the questions are below; you can read the interview in full here.

Hope to see you at 7:00pm!

Her Butterflies to Miami

NiteTalk: Julia Alvarez Brings Her Butterflies to Miami

With state officials threatening to slash public library budgets and bookstores feared to go the way of the dodo, it’s refreshing to know that at least one publisher still considers books less for their commodity and more for the magic they may bestow and behold. We speak of Algonquin, and its revered Book Club, which is currently featuring Julia Alvarez’s breathtaking In the Time of Butterflies. Niteside got with the award-winning writer before tonight’s live chat with Edwidge Danticat.

Tonight Edwidge Danticat will interview you for the Algonquin Book Club. Wanna fill us in? The Algonquin Book Club officially launched in January. They host four events a year that are held in bookstores around the country and simultaneously streamed live at the Algonquin site. I was really delighted and honored that Algonquin chose In the Time of the Butterflies as their first book club pick! And who better than a Haitian-American writer to have a conversation with a Dominican-American writer?

You and Ms. Danticat have a sorta literary kinship; have you two a common history as well? I actually first “met” Edwidge Danticat on paper. Susan Bergholz, asked me if I would look at the galleys of a novel by a young writer being published by Soho Press. I was especially intrigued because she mentioned the writer was originally from Haiti, the neighbor country to my own native country Dominican Republic. I read Breath, Eyes, and Memory, and was blown away! Here was a fabulous young talent. I’ve watched Edwidge grow as a writer and also watched her career success with great pleasure as I consider her part of my own literary familia. We have very different immigration stories but we share a lot of the same feelings of being from dual cultures and languages and arriving in place where we felt we didn’t totally belong. Also with a great deal of responsibility to the culture and country we left behind.

Speaking of kinship, if someone were to say you set the stage for the likes of Jhumpa Lahiri, who could they say set the stage for you? Definitely Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior. Before that book, I wanted to be a writer, but since I didn’t have any models of writers who focused on other than a very mainstream American (or British) experience, I didn’t know that it could be done.  Even though her experience was Chinese-American, she could have been writing about my Dominican family and experience. She really broke that ‘class ceiling’ that relegated ethnic subjects to sociology.

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