Harry Ransom Center Acquire Julia Alvarez Archive

The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has acquired the archive of acclaimed novelist, poet and essayist Julia Alvarez (b. 1950).

Alvarez’s extensive archive consists of manuscripts, correspondence, journals and professional files. The manuscripts span her writing career and include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays and unpublished works, often in multiple drafts. Alvarez regularly sent drafts of her work to friends and colleagues, and these copies usually bear handwritten comments from the reader alongside Alvarez’s revisions.

Alvarez’s correspondence includes poems and letters from fellow writers such as Sandra Cisneros, Edwidge Danticat, Dana Gioia and Marilyn Hacker.

Alvarez was born in New York City but raised in the Dominican Republic until she was 10. In 1960 her family was forced to flee the Domican Republic when it was discovered that her father was involved in a plot to overthrow dictator Rafael Trujillo.

Alvarez once noted of her return to the U.S.: “I think of myself at 10 years old, newly arrived in this country, feeling out of place, feeling that I would never belong…I found myself turning more and more to writing as the one place where I…felt I belonged and could make sense of myself, my life, all that was happening to me.”

Much of Alvarez’s work is considered semi-autobiographical, drawing on her experiences as an immigrant and her bicultural identity. Alvarez’s unique experiences have shaped and infused her writing—from such award-winning novels as “How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents” and “In the Time of the Butterflies” to her poetry.

The Alvarez materials will be accessible once processed and cataloged. www.hrc.utexas.edu