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A Wedding in Haiti:
The Story of a Friendship

(Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, April 2012)

This book began years ago with a promise I made a young Haitian who had come to work at Alta Gracia, the farm & literacy project my husband Bill and I set up in the Dominican Republic. Piti, whose name means "little" in Kreyòl, was eighteen but he looked fourteen. Along with many young Haitians, he had made the dangerous border crossing in order to work and send money home to his impoverished family. One night when he was homesick and a little sad, I tried to rally him by predicting that one day he would find his great love and get married. He didn't believe me. So I upped the ante: Not only would he find her and marry her, but I promised I would come to his wedding.

Fast forward eight years: in Vermont, the phone rings. It's Piti, and he's getting married in Haiti next week. Am I coming?

A Wedding in Haiti: The Story of a Friendship, a book of nonfiction by Julia Alvarez, available now in hardcover and paperback -- click for music by Piti and friends

So begins A Wedding in Haiti: The Story of a Friendship. Little did I know what I was in for: a perfect storm of challenges: illegal border crossings, bad or no roads, rivers we had to ford, encounters we had to negotiate, experiences which would transform my life. Six months later, January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake rocked Haiti. We returned with Piti and his new bride and baby to check on their families.

Una boda en Haití -- Historia de una amistad

This book tells the story of those journeys, what happens when you make an unlikely friendship, when you keep a promise, when you step outside the safety zone where you operate successfully and automatically? Books, too, are journeys that can transform us as readers. I invite you to come along with me to Piti's wedding. I promise you at the very least a rollicking ride. Maybe more.

ONE: Going to Piti's Wedding in Haiti: page 10 -- photo by Nicole Sánchez (click to see a larger version of the photograph)
page 10
TWO: Going Home with Piti after the Earthquake: page 287 -- photo by Julia Alvarez (click to see a larger version of the photograph)
page 287

Photographs from A Wedding in Haiti

When I got the news that the book's photos would have to be black and white to keep down the cost of production, my first thought was: Oh no, my readers won't get to see the red dress! I knew I had to share the color photos, so here they are!

A CD of Piti's Music

As you know if you have already read A Wedding in Haiti, my beloved Bill always goes a step further than I signed up for! That is, if I'm going to write "a whole book about Piti," why not produce a whole CD of Piti's music?

Rise Up, Brothers: Rise Up, Brothers / Le Fre Nene Leve

Bill asked Piti; his wife, Eseline; his brother, Adner; and their friend, Eliana, to tape their music in Jarabacoa. With the help of his daughter, the artist Sara Eichner, Bill designed a lovely cover and working with an online company, he produced Rise Up, Brothers. Bill has been selling the CD's while we've been on the road for my book tour -- and 100% of proceeds go to Piti and his band. You can preview the songs and order a copy of the CD or download individual songs right here. Enjoy!

Soliana and Rica. One of the pictures I sent their mom in Florida. Photo by Julia Alvarez (click to read Julia's blog about writing A Wedding in Haiti)

I'm a Guest Blogger!

"I am a virgin blogger! I've never done a blog-blog before. I hesitate because, I actually have blogged before, but not intentionally, and what I was doing was not called by that name...
"But now I am an official blogger for five days at Powell's. Every day you will get a fresh blog entry, promise. And since I'm on tour with my new nonfiction book, A Wedding in Haiti: The Story of a Friendship, I thought I'd share a few of the little back stories that went into writing this book..."

Read my Guest Blogs at

Author Interviews about A Wedding in Haiti

Shelf Awareness: The Organic Process
Write the Book
Tell Me More: Haiti: 'The Sister I Hardly Knew'
NPR: A Wedding In Haiti: Making Good On A Promise

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More Books by Julia Alvarez:

More Books by Julia Alvarez

In The Time of the Butterflies, a novel by Julia Alvarez
In The Time of the Butterflies
In the Name of Salome: a novel by Julia Alvarez -- click for book summary
In the Name of Salome
Once Upon A Quinceañera: Coming of Age in the USA by Julia Alvarez
Once Upon A Quinceañera

Autographed Books by Julia Alvarez

Would you like a signed -- or personalized -- copy of one of Julia's books? Simply call or email one of her two local bookstores -- or stop in for a visit.

Vermont Book Shop
38 Main Street, Middlebury, Vermont

Middlebury College Store
58 Hepburn Road, Middlebury, Vermont
Contact Georgia Best

And, of course, Julia would love to see you at one of her upcoming appearances. To see if she will be in your town, check her calendar.


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