By Jamie O’Toole
Four sisters are trapped in a world run by Rafael Trujillo struggling to spread their wings beneath the oppressive regime ruling their homeland. The tale of the Dominican Mirabal sisters is an inspiring story brought to life in the novel “In the Time of Butterflies” by author Julia Alvarez who shares the girls’ heritage and lived through the final days of the despot’s dictatorship.
Brazos Valley Reads has arranged a week of immersion in the rich culture of the Dominican Republic highlighted by a visit and book reading and signing by Alvarez. This is the program’s tenth year of bringing the staff and students at Texas A&M University and the greater Brazos Valley community together through literature. The initiative began in 2005 when the university’s English department, headed by Paul Parrish, set the goal of promoting reading and good literature on campus and in the community. Modeled after the nationwide initiative “One Book, One Community,” Brazos Valley Reads has hosted internationally renowned authors including Maxine Hong Kingston, Sandra Cisneros, Tim O’Brien, Ernest Gaines, and Sherman Alexie.
Alvarez is scheduled to visit College Station on April 1-2 with a public reading from “In the Time of Butterflies” on April 1 at 7 p.m. at the Annenberg Center at the George Bush Presidential Library. The event is free, open to the public, and no RSVP is required. While in town, Alvarez also will visit with the university’s creative writing students and faculty, spend an afternoon with both the A&M Consolidated and College Station High School students, attend a class at Texas A&M currently studying her work, and have coffee with the University Honors students.
To compliment her visit, Brazos Valley Reads worked with Texas A&M’s Academy for Visual and Performing Arts as well as the Film Studies, Hispanic Studies, and Women and Gender Studies departments to coordinate a week of classroom activities and events that focus on Dominican culture. They have also arranged for Angie Cruz, a former professor at Texas A&M who shares Alvarez’s Dominican roots, to give a reading from her book in progress, “In Search of Caridad,” on April 2.
On Thursday March 27, there will be a free showing of the film Code Name: Butterflies on campus. Directed by Cecilia Domeyko, this documentary follows the Mirabal sisters and their role in the fall of the Dominican Republic tyrant.
Free public book reading and signing for the novel “In the Time of Butterflies.” This is the headline activity in a week of events offered by Brazos Valley Reads celebrating the Dominican culture and the Brazos Valley Reads’ 10th anniversary.
April 1 at 7pm
The Annenberg Presidential Conference Center