Vermont Press Releases

Julia Avarez to receive Vermont’s highest arts award

For Immediate Release
September 14, 2011

Jen Pelletier
[email protected]

Montpelier – Governor Peter R. Shumlin and the Vermont Arts Council are pleased to announce Julia Alvarez as the 2011 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Alvarez will be honored in a public ceremony as part of the Vermont Arts Gala, happening on November 4 at the Capitol Plaza in Montpelier.

The Governor’s Award is Vermont’s highest honor in the arts. Since 1968, it is has been presented annually to artists who have achieved national or international stature for making a significant contribution to the advancement of their chosen art form.

Julia Alvarez is the author of five novels, How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, In the Time of the Butterflies, ¡Yo! In the Name of Salomé, and Saving the World. She has also published four books of poems, including Homecoming and The Other Side/El Otro Lado, The Woman I Kept to Myself, as well as a book of essays, a work of non-fiction, Once Upon a Quinceañera, and many books for young readers.

Alvarez is a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College. She is also involved with her husband, Bill Eichner, in Alta Gracia, an organic farm-literacy arts center, in her homeland of the Dominican Republic. Her book, A Cafecito Story, is a modern “green” fable based on this project. She is the recipient of many awards, including the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature and the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, to name a few. Her books have been translated in eighteen countries and several of them have been adapted for film and the stage. Her latest work of non-fiction, A Wedding in Haiti, will be published in Spring 2012 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

“We are delighted that the Governor has selected Julia Alvarez to receive the 2011 Governor’s Award in the Arts,” said Arts Council Executive Director Alexander L. Aldrich. “Whether writing for children, young adults, or a mature audience; whether writing poetry or prose, she has a distinct voice and a unique cultural perspective that distinguishes her from her peers here in Vermont and throughout the U.S. Vermont has more writers per capita than any other state in the country and you can be sure that we will be celebrating this award with her and many of her literary friends and admirers in November.”

More information about the Vermont Arts Gala will be released later. For more information, about the Governor’s Award visit

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Since 1964, the Vermont Arts Council has been the state’s primary provider of funding, advocacy and information for the arts in Vermont. It strives to increase public awareness of the positive role artists and arts organizations play in communities and to increase opportunities for Vermonters to experience the arts in everyday life. The Council is the only designated State Arts Agency in the U.S. that is also an independent, not-for-profit, membership organization. For more information on the programs and services of the Vermont Arts Council, visit

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