Isabel Allende Biography

Isabel Allende Llona (Born August 2, 1942). Journalist and Writer, born in Peru and raised in Chile, currently considered as the living author, in the Spanish language, more read around the world.


Belonging to the genre of postboom, his publications already reach twenty-six titles, which have been mostly translated into thirty-five languages, and published by the publishers of the group Penguin Random Haouse, Plaza & Janes and South Americana, achieving a total circulation of more than sixty-five million copies.

She has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 2004. It was also elected National Prize for Literature in Chile, in 2010. Some of her works have been adapted into film, theatre and opera.


Early life

Isabel Allende was born on August 2, 1942 in Lima, Peru, becoming the first daughter of the marriage to the diplomat Tomás Allende Pess (first brother of former Chilean president Salvador Allende) and his wife Francisca Llona Barros.

By the time of her birth, her father had been appointed as Secretary of the Chilean Embassy in Peru, so the advent into the world of this writer occurred in this country. However, in 1945, her parents decided to separate, so her mother, her brothers Juan and Francisco and she returned to Chile the following year.

Later, in 1953, he moved with his family to Bolivia, where he began his studies at an American school. In 1958, she moved with her brothers and mother to Lebanon, where she was enrolled in an English private school. A year later, in 1959, he returned to Chile, where he settled in the city of Santiago.

From her arrival in 1959 until 1965, she worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Also, on her return she met Miguel Farías, whom she married in 1963. That same year, she gave birth to her eldest daughter, Paula. Four years later, the couple had their second child, Nicholas.

Beginnings as a writer

During 1967, Isabel Allende served as editor of Paula magazine. In 1970, she made her first foray into Dramaturgy with the play “The Ambassador”, which premiered in 1971. Two years later, he premiered three more works: “The Ballad of half the hair”, “I am the Soto Transit” and “The Seven Mirrors”.

During these years, she also collaborated with the children’s magazine Mampato, which she went on to direct for a year (1973-1974) and in which she published the short stories: “Grandma Panchita” and “Lauchas and lanchones, rats and mice”. She also worked as a screenwriter for two television channels, while publishing a group of articles he titled “Civilice your troglodyte”.

The House of Spirits

Following the coup d’état of September 11, 1973, and in the face of the bloody military dictatorship, Isabel left, in 1975, with her family to Caracas, Venezuela. During her stay, she worked as a journalist in the Venezuelan newspaper The National. It was also in this city, where she created the story that would catapult her to world fame: The House of the Spirits.

This book was her first novel, and was born from the writer’s attempt, in 1981, to make a letter to her grandfather, who at 99 years old was dying in Chile. After being rejected by several publishers in both South America and Europe, it was eventually published, becoming a bestseller.

However, the constant promotional travels of her work cooled her relationship with her husband, from whom she was permanently separated. Eleven years later, Swedish director Bille August brought this story to both the theatre and the big screen. Isabel Allende herself participated in the development of the script, which was played by famous actors such as Meryl Steep, Glenn Close, Antonio Banderas, Vanessa Redgrave and Winona Ryder.

Recognition and Criticism

In 1984, Isabel Allende published a new novel, re-producing a true sales phenomenon, this time with her novel De amor y de Sombra, which was also brought to the cinema, in 1994, by the Venezuelan filmmaker Betty Kaplan. In 1988 she traveled to Chile, in order to vote against Augusto Pinochet.

That same year, she married her second husband, Willie Gordon. She has since settled in California, United States, a country that granted him citizenship in 2003. After the dictatorship in Chile, she was distinguished by Chilean President Patricio Aylwin with the Order of Teaching and Cultural Merit Gabriela Mistral. Two years later, she faced the personal tragedy of losing her daughter, Paula, who died of porphyria, whose death inspired the novel Paula, published two years later.

In 2007 she was awarded the Honorary Doctorate from the University of Trento. Likewise, in 2010, she became the national Prize for Literature of Chile, becoming the fourth Chilean woman to receive this award. In 2011, Isabel Allende was endowed with the Hans Christian Andersen Prize for Literature.

Among his most notable works are La Casa de los Espítirus (1982), De amor y de Sombra (1984), Eva Luna (1987), Tales of Eva Luna (1990), Paula (1994), Aphrodite (1998), Daughter of Fortune (1999). As well as Portrait in Sepia (2002), The City of the Beasts (2002), My Invented Country, (2003), among other hits for sale among those his police novels the Game of Ripper (2014).

Despite her successes and recognitions as a writer, her talent as such is a subject of debate among readers and literary critics, and while some consider her a true phenomenon of letters, some writers and critics simply consider her a a miswriter or at most a mass writer, while a few more, like her connational Roberto Bolaño, came to claim in life that Isabel Allende wasn´t a writer, but a “writer”. However, this professional lyrics professional remains a record worldwide sales record.

Image source: elobservador.com.uy

Isabel Allende Biography
Source: Education  
August 14, 2019


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