Featured Author Spotlight

Isabel Allende

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A highly successful journalist, Ms. Allende turned from journalism to fiction and wrote her first novel, House of the Spirits, in 1982 which became an international success.  Of it, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt of the New York Times wrote, “''The House of the Spirits'' seems guilty of that extravagant and whimsical fabulousness so dear to the imagination of many South and Central American fictionalists.”  Since that novel, she has published no fewer than 18 books the latest being Maya's Notebook (2011) El Cuaderno de Maya.  Allende's novels have been translated from Spanish into over 30 languages and sold more than 56 million copies. There are three movies based on her novels currently in production — Aphrodite, Eva Luna and Gift for a Sweetheart.  Her 2008 book, The Sum of Our Days is a memoir that focuses on her recent life with her immediate family, which includes her grown son, Nicolás; second husband, William Gordon; and several grandchildren. The House of the Spirits was made into a film in 1993 directed by Bille August and starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons  Her awards are extensive which include, but are not limited to: Feminist of the Year Award, The Feminist; Chevalier des Artes et des Lettres distinction (France, 1994); Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature (United States, 1996); Donna Citta Di Roma (Italy, 1998); Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize (United States, 1998); Premio Iberoamericano de Letras José Donoso, University of Talca (Chile, 2003); Premio Honoris Causa, Università di Trento en "lingue e letteratura moderne euroamericane" (Trento, Italy, May 2007); Chilean National Prize for Literature (Chile, 2010); and most recently, the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award (Denmark, 2012).  In addition to her writing, she began the Isabel Allende Foundation as an homage to the death of her daughter, Paula, who died at the age of 28.  As Allende states herself: “My foundation, based on her ideals of service and compassion, was created to continue her work.”  The book, Paula, is a 1995 memoir written by Allende who originally intended to write a straightforward narrative about the darkest experience of her own life, but which turned into a tribute to her daughter.