The Richards Free Library and the Judges of the Sarah Josepha Hale award are pleased to announce that Julia Alvarez is the 2017 Sarah Josepha Hale Award Medalist. She will accept the award on August 19, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. at the Library Arts Center.
Born in New York City in 1950, Julia Alvarez’s parents returned to their native country, Dominican Republic, shortly after her birth. Ten years later, the family was forced to flee to the United States because of her father’s involvement in a plot to overthrow the dictator, Trujillo. A graduate of Middlebury College, Alvarez received a Masters in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. She returned to Middlebury in 1988 and is now the Writer-in-Residence. Alvarez has written novels (How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, In the Time of the Butterflies, ¡Yo!, In the Name of Salomé, Saving the World), collections of poems (Homecoming, The Other Side/ El Otro Lado, The Woman I Kept to Myself), nonfiction (Something to Declare, Once Upon A Quinceañera, and A Wedding in Haiti), and numerous books for young readers (including the Tía Lola Stories series, Before We Were Free, finding miracles, Return to Sender and Where Do They Go?). Alvarez’s awards include the Pura Belpré and Américas Awards for her books for young readers, the Hispanic Heritage Award, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award. In 2013, she received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama.
For over fifty years, the Sarah Josepha Hale Award has been given by the Trustees of the Richards Free Library in recognition of a distinguished body of written work in the field of literature and letters. The award honors author, poet, and essayist, Sarah Josepha Hale, who as editor of Godey’s Lady’s Magazine shaped the opinion of nineteenth century American women. The list of Hale Award winners includes the finest writers of our times from Robert Frost in 1956 to Sharon Olds in 2016.