NEW YORK (AP) — Million-selling novelist Julia Alvarez’s next book is a story of identity and immigration that she felt compelled to write.

“Afterlife” will be published next April, Algonquin Books announced Tuesday. The novel centers on a literature professor whose grief for her late husband and encounter with an undocumented migrant raise questions about who she is and about her background as an immigrant. Alvarez said she wanted to explore what happens to a person who values the life of the mind when she discovers “that the world demands more of her than words.”

Alvarez is known for the best-sellers “How the García Girls Lost Their Accents” and “In the Time of the Butterflies.” She has also published poems, essays and children’s books. In 2013, she was awarded a National Medal of Arts.