Worldwide admired writer
The books of this Chilean writer have sold over 50 million copies and have been translated into more than 20 languages.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
(Photo: El Mercurio)
Isabel Allende was born on 2 August 1942 in Lima, while her father served as a diplomatic officer. Marked by a traveler’s fate, she lived in Bolivia, Lebanon, Belgium and Switzerland.
After working for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the traditional Paula magazine in Santiago offered to showcase her writing skills and talent for humorous prose.
After the state coup of 1973 and the death of President Salvador Allende, cousin of her father, she chose a 13 year long self-exile in Venezuela, period during which she worked in a secondary school and wrote for the El Nacional newspaper.
It was in Caracas where she began to write a letter to her dying grandfather that would be the basis of La Casa de los Espíritus (The House of Spirits) (1982), a novel whose film version directed by Danish Director Bille August and starring Meryl Streep, Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons garnered several international awards.
Her book De Amor y de Sombra (Of Love and Shadows) was made into a film by in 1994 by Betty Kaplan, who included Jennifer Connelly and Spanish-born Antonio Banderas in the cast, in his first role in an English-speaking film.
Shortly after publishing Eva Luna and Cuentos de Eva Luna (The Stories of Eva Luna), the return to democracy in Chile allowed her return after 15 years, during which she was recognized by President Patricio Aylwin with the Gabriela Mistral Order of Academic and Cultural Merit.
In the 1990s came more international awards and El Plan Infinito (The Infinite Plan), Afrodita (Aphrodite) and Hija de la Fortuna (Daughter of Fortune) as well as the death of her daughter Paula, who inspired the more intimate lines in a novel by same name.
In the new century, Isabel Allende has completed 50 million sold copies of her books and translations into more than 20 languages, thanks to bestsellers Retrato en Sepia (Portrait in Sepia) , Inés del Alma Mía (Ines of My Soul), or the trilogy for young readers made up by La Ciudad de las Bestias (The City of the Beasts), El Reino del Dragón de Oro (The Kingdom of the Golden Lion) and El Bosque de los Pigmeos (Forest of the Pygmies).