Author Julia Alvarez to Speak in Massillon

News Release:  Author Julia Alvarez to Speak in Massillon 

The Massillon Museum has invited internationally acclaimed author Julia Alvarez to be The Big Read keynote speaker on Wednesday, March 23. The Museum’s 2016 selection is In the Time of the Butterflies, a historical fiction novel based on the lives of the Mirabal sisters, who rebelled against the despotism of the Dominican Republic regime in the late 1950s.

The free program will be held at the Lincoln Theatre, 156 Lincoln Way East in downtown Massillon. The doors will open at 6:30 and the program will begin at 7:00 p.m. Alvarez will field questions after her presentation and will sign books at the end of the program. The evening is open to everyone and reservations are not required.

Free copies of In the Time of the Butterflies will be distributed at the Massillon Museum beginning with The Big Read kick-off March 5 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Books may be picked up at the Museum’s reception desk after that time as long as the supply lasts.

Alvarez, a poet, novelist, and essayist, was born in New York City, but her family returned to their home in the Dominican Republic soon thereafter. She spent her early childhood in the Dominican Republic, until her father’s involvement in the rebellion against Trujillo forced her family to flee the country. She is known for her novels—How the García Girls Lost Their Accents (1991), In the Time of the Butterflies (1994), and Yo! (1997), her poetry—Homecoming (1984) and The Woman I Kept to Myself (2004), and her autobiographical compilation—Something to Declare (1998). 

The keynote is one of 40 public events scheduled for The Big Read 2016. The events are listed on the bookmark which is included in each book and on the Massillon Museum website,, and on

Immediately prior to the keynote, guests are invited to visit the Massillon Museum, 121 Lincoln Way East (just across the street from the theatre), from 6:00 to 6:30, for a reception honoring Cleveland artist Hector Castellanos Lara and Mexican and Central American immigrant and refugee children who worked with him throughout the afternoon to create Guatemalan carpet art.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to restore reading to the center of American culture for pleasure and enlightenment. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. This is the ninth consecutive year the Massillon Museum has offered massive The Big Read programming to the community. MassMu is one of only 75 institutions in the nation, one of only two in Ohio, to earn funding during this grant cycle.

Support for The Big Read is provided by the NEA, the Women’s Fund Endowment of the Stark Community Foundation, the Massillon/North Canton Elks #2029, and Massillon Rotary Foundation. 

Local organizations collaborating with the Massillon Museum include:  the Massillon Public Library; Stark Parks (Exploration Gateway); Massillon/North Canton Elks #2029; Immigrant Worker Project-Centro San Jose; All a Flutter Butterflies; Partners Against Trafficking of Humans–Stark, the Artful Living Program; Walsh University and Walsh University Museum Studies Club; AHEAD/SPARK Massillon, Washington High School Drama Department, Washington High School, R.G. Drage, Soroptimist International of Canton/Stark County, the Stark County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau; The Wilderness Center; Anderson’s in the City; North Canton Public Library; Kozmo’s Grille; The Inn at University Village; Stark County Lake Branch Library; Augsburg Lutheran Church-Nuestra Casa;  Lincoln Theatre; Saint Joseph Catholic Church; Mo’ Joes Coffee House and Café Book Club; St. Ives Book Club; La Amistad at Dover Public Library; Ohio State University-ATI; Kent State University; Domestic Violence Project, Inc.; The Barrel Room; Massillon Woman’s Club; and many community volunteers. 

The Massillon Museum receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark to supplement its primary local funding.

For more information about The Big Read, call 330-833-4061 or visit or

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