Storyteller said stories spread the truth

The Honors Program hosted renowned author Julia Alvarez to speak to a crowd of around 100 people April 25, about the importance of reading and storytelling.

Julia Alvarez, author of “A Wedding in Haiti,” spoke to a crowd including President Geoffrey Mearns, NKU students and high school students alike last week in the Otto M. Budig Theater, highlighting experiences she has had storytelling and being told stories.

“Reading can bring communities together in a very special way,” Mearns said. “Reading helps us understand and grow as individuals.” Mearns said that it was very important that Julia Alvarez was speaking.

She recounted being told stories as a child, which inspired her to start writing in the sixth grade when her family moved to America.

Alvarez lived in the Dominican Republic with her family until she was 10 years old. Then, her family was forced to flee the country and they came to the United States.

“Everything was oppressed and censored,” she said. “But you cannot censor stories.”

People made fun of her because she was different, so she sought refuge in reading books and writing. She said that her teacher would give her books to read, books that would make her feel like things would get better one day.

“Storytelling and reading can change the way that people think and act toward each other,” Alvarez said. “Stories have power, they can transform and change us.”

Alvarez said that she identifies herself as a storyteller rather than a writer.

“I write for children of all ages,” she said.

Mary Faulconer, a junior English major attended the event to hear Alvarez speak.

“Every time I go to a literary event I leave disappointed. The authors seem to be more engaged with themselves than the audience, and as a result they come off a bit pretentious. That was not the case for Julia Alvarez,” Faulconer said.

“You can tell that she really cares about people, and she wants encourages others to be creative. I think that the things she has done are phenomenal. She believes that stories can change your life, and I believe that as well,” Faulconer said.

“I was not familiar with Julia Alvarez. I had not read any of her books, but after seeing her I will definitely check her books out. She was very inspiring, not to mention hilarious,” Faulconer said.

“She believes that stories can change your life, and I believe that as well,” Faulconer said.  “Literature is powerful, and it is a huge part of my life. She didn’t just simply inform, she inspired.”