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Life & Literature of Isabel Allende

In 1981,  Isabel Allende began her first book, The House of the Spirits, as a letter to her 100-year old grandfather who was dying in Chile. The book was immediately an international bestseller and launched her career as the most widely-read author writing in Spanish. Over the course of  her career, she has written more than 20 books, ranging from plays to memoirs to children’s books, translated into more than 35 languages with more than 67 million copies sold.

Despite her diverse repertoire of manuscripts, she  is most well-known as a prominent feminist voice committed to telling the stories of strong women.

Allende has received numerous awards for her work, including the Chilean National Prize for Literature (2010) and the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction (2010). In 2014, President Barack Obama awarded Allende the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. This year, she  was honored with the  2017 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jean-Marie Papoi is a digital producer for the arts & culture team at Ideastream Public Media.