Forbes Magazine

Chile's Isabel Allende one of 10 most powerful women writers

Allende, the only Latin American on the list, was included alongside best-selling writers like J.K. Rowling and influential prize-winners such as Toni Morrison.

Monday, June 13, 2011  
isabel allende,writer,chile,women,literature Isabel Allende recently won the Chilean National Literature Prize. (Photo: shawncalhoun/Flickr)

With 18 works to her name, and virtually innumerable literary awards, Chile’s best-known writer has been listed on the Forbes list of the 10 Most Powerful Women Writers. Earlier this year, Allende was recognized with the Chilean National Literature Prize, placing her in the ranks of Chile’s most renowned writers, like Nobel-winner Pablo Neruda.
Isabel Allende’s first novel, The House of Spirits, rocketed her to literary fame in 1982. In the years since, Allende has published best-selling works like Daughter of Fortune, City of Beasts, which has led the Latin American Herald Tribune to call her “the world’s most widely-read Spanish-language author.”


Much of Allende’s work has drawn inspiration from her great Latin American predecessors, particularly the works of magical realists like Gabriel García Marquéz. These features, combined with her unique interpretation of Chilean life and history, have brought her work to prominence both at home and abroad.
The list, compiled by Avril David at Forbes Magazine, includes women from a variety of backgrounds, and whose books cover a broad diversity of styles and genres. “The women selected for this list are powerful because of their ability to influence us through their words and ideas,” says David. The list includes best-selling authors and literary giants, recipients of major prizes and the best-selling author alive.
Joining Allende on the Forbes list are J.K. Rowling, whose Harry Potter novels have established her as one of the world’s most widely-read writers. Danielle Steele’s romance novels have sold 800 million copies, and spent a total of 390 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. Pulitzer winners Alice Walker and Jhumpa Lahiri appear on the list alongside Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison.


Allende, the only Latin American writer included in the list, was cited for writing novels that “have achieved broad commercial success, with stories that inspire, haunt and touch on the magical, and mythical in the lives of everyday people.”
Most recently Allende has published the novel El Cuaderno de Maya, or Maya’s Notebook, which traces a 19-year-old protagonist’s descent into the underworld of illicit drugs.