Isabel Allende: Biography

Isabel Allende

02 aug 1942

Isabel Allende bags the credit of being the first successful woman novelists from Latin America. She has written 20 books with more than 65 million copies sold. Her works were translated in 35 languages.

More than an author, Isabel is looked upon as a social reformer. Most of her works depict the life of women in Latin America. Her books are a reflection of her personal experiences and her feelings. Isabel instituted the Isabel Allende Foundation which supports various non-profit organisations to support small girls and women in Chile and San Francisco Bay Area.

Isabel was born to Chilean parents Tomas and Francisca in Lima, Peru. Her parents got divorced when she was 3 years old. She lived with her grandparents. Her grandmother was a fortune-teller. Isabel was fascinated by her grandmother’s stories. Since the house had good collection of books, Isabel had a great time reading. After completion of studies, Isabel married Miguel Frias. She worked as a Secretary in United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation. She later switched to Journalism and television.

Everything changed in 1973 when Isabel’s Uncle Salvador Allende, President of Chile was assassinated. Foreseeing the danger, Isabel flew to Venezuela with her husband and kids. She was unable to secure a job there inspite of her good profile. It was then, Isabel started writing her first novel ‘The House of the Spirits’. This novel got published in 1982 and to her surprise it became a sensational best seller in Spain and West Germany winning the Quality Paperback Book Club New Voice Award nomination. This also got released as a film in U.S.

Isabel’s life had quite a lot of changes. She divorced Miguel and married William Gordon. Isabel left her administration job at School to pursue writing. Her daughter Paula died of a hereditary blood disease. Isabel’s first non-fiction ‘Paula’ published in 1994 was written as a letter to her daughter.

Isabel is best known for her novels ‘The House of Spirits’ and ‘City of Beasts’. Besides novels, she also writes short stories for children. Isabel has won many awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Barrack Obama. The world’s most widely read Spanish language author currently lives in San Rafael, California with her family.