Isabel Allende [ Chile, USA ]
Isabel Allende was born in Lima, Peru, in 1942. Her parents were diplomats, and she grew up in Santiago de Chile, La Paz and Beirut. From 1959 on she was a journalist and presenter in Santiago, Geneva and Brussels. She was an active member of the feminist movement, the co-founder of the journal »Paula«, and worked for TV Chile and numerous newspapers and magazines. At the same time she wrote children’s books and theatre plays. The second niece of President Salvador Allende, she went to exile in Venezuela after Pinochet’s coup d’état in Chile on the 11th of September in 1973.
Her first novel »La casa de los espíritus« (1982; Eng. »The House of the Spirits«, 1982) became a worldwide bestseller, and was turned into a film with many stars in the cast in 1993. The family saga covers four generations and deals with the social and ideological contradictions within Chilean society, including the dictatorship. Almost twenty years later, Allende complemented the trilogy with the antecedents of her debut, »Hija de la Fortuna« (1999; Eng. »Daughter of Fortune«) and »Retrato en Sepia« (2000; Eng. »Portrait in Sepia«. When her daughter, who suffered from a metabolic disease, fell into a coma, she started »Paula« (1994), her memoirs published in the form of letters, which focus on the history of her family and of Chile, and on loss and death. She founded the Isabel Allende Foundation in 1996, which supports disadvantaged women. After a trilogy for young readers, the autobiographical narration »Mi país inventado« (2003; Eng. »My invented country. A Memoir«), her treatment of the Zorro myth and the historical novel »Inés del alma mía« (2006; Eng. »Ines of my Sour«), she published »La suma de los días« (2007; Eng. »The Sum of Our Days«), her memoirs presented as a novel. In »La Isla Bajo el Mar« (2009; Eng. »The Island Beneath the Sea«) Allende once again picked a historical theme and described the life story of a slave in the Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue. Her most recent novel is »El Cuaderno de Maya« (2011; Eng. »Maya’s Diary«), the story of a young woman who has to hide on an island in Southern Chile, and tries to leave her past behind.
In 2010, Isabel Allende received the National Literary Award of Chile. In 2012, the renowned Danish Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award was bestowed on her. She holds honorary doctorates from about a dozen universities, is a member of the Academia de la Lengua in Chile, since 1994 a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and was admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004. Allende lives in San Rafael, California.
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