1 minute read

Isabel Allende: 1942—: Novelist Biography

Worked As Advice Columnist, Based Novel On Pinochet Dictatorship, Novels Link United States And Latin America

One of the most popular and widely acclaimed writers in the Western Hemisphere, the Chilean novelist Isabel Allende has been hailed as the creator of a distinctively female voice within the largely male-dominated Latin American literary tradition. In a series of bestselling novels written in the last decades of the twentieth century, Allende mixed elements of Latin American "magical realism" with strands drawn from the social upheavals that had occurred through Latin America's turbulent history—some of which she had personally experienced. A popular touch, perhaps shaped by the romance novels Allende edited as a young journalist in Chile, propelled her work to wide popularity in the United States after the release of her stunning 1982 debut, The House of the Spirits, in English translation.

The daughter of a Chilean diplomat, Isabel Allende was born in Lima, Peru, on August 2, 1942. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she was raised in the Chilean capital of Santiago. Well-educated in private schools, Allende traveled the world with her mother and her new stepfather, another member of Chile's diplomatic corps. As a young woman Allende worked for a United Nations office in Santiago as a secretary; she married an engineer, Miguel Frias, when she was 20.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: (Hugo) Alvar (Henrik) Aalto (1898–1976) Biography to Miguel Angel Asturias (1899–1974) Biography