Isabel Allende Biography

Who Is Isabel Allende?

Isabel Allende is a well-known writer and journalist from Chile who is often cited as one of the first prominent Latin American woman authors. Her books The House of the Spirits and City of the Beasts are her most well-known works. Allende has written over 20 books, and sold over 67 million copies that have been translated into more than 35 languages.

Early Life

Chilean-American Writer Isabel Allende was born on August 2, 1942, in Lima, Peru. Allende’s tumultuous familial background shaped her early years. When she was just two years old, her mother, siblings, and father—a diplomat—left the family and she moved in with her grandfather in Chile.

Allende defined herself as a disobedient young girl who detested male authority figures in her existence. In spite of her financial struggles, she was driven to work and started her journalistic writing career in the 1960s and 1970s.

Literary Work

Allende’s life took a sharp turn when General Augusto Pinochet overthrew a military coup in 1973, toppling the government of Salvador Allende, her father’s cousin and the first socialist president of Chile. Following the coup, Allende took a leading role in providing assistance to Pinochet’s regime’s victims. She eventually left Chile in 1975 with her husband and two kids owing to worries about their safety, and they spent the next 13 years living in exile in Venezuela.

Best Books

American Writer wrote a letter in 1981 to her dying grandfather, which became the inspiration for her first novel, The House of the Spirits (1985). The book established her writing career and received praise from readers worldwide. Frequently referred to as “realistic literature,” Allende’s writing is informed by the mystical and political themes that developed her imagination, as well as her own upbringing.

Apart from her literary works, Allende has penned intimate autobiographies such as Paula (1994), which chronicles the life and demise of her daughter due to an uncommon illness, and The Sum of Our Days: A Memoir (2008), delving into her life after her daughter’s passing.

Awards And Recognition

For her writing, Allende has won multiple honors, such as the 2010 Chilean National Prize for Literature and the 2010 Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction. President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014. Over 35 languages have been translated into her works, which have sold over 70 million copies worldwide.

Personal Life And Legacy

Allende got married twice, the first time in 1962 to Miguel Frías, with whom she had two kids. In 1988, following her divorce from Frías, she fell in love with and wed Willie Gordon, a writer and attorney.

She became a citizen of the United States in 1993 and has resided in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1987. She describes herself as living “with one foot in California and the other in Chile,” maintaining ties to both her homeland of Chile and her adopted home of California.

In 1996, author Allende founded the Isabel Allende Foundation in memory of her daughter Paula. The foundation is committed to funding initiatives that uphold and advance women’s and children’s fundamental rights to empowerment and protection.

Quick Facts

  • Title: Isabel Allende Biography
  • Full Name: Isabel Angélica Allende Llona
  • Birth Year: 1942
  • Birth Date: August 2, 1942
  • Birth City: Lima
  • Birth Country: Peru
  • Gender: Female
  • Known For: Isabel Allende is renowned for writing international bestsellers including The House of Spirits.
  • Industries: Journalism and Nonfiction
  • Astrological Sign: Leo
  • Nationalities: Chilean
  • Net Worth: $12 Million
  • Spouse: Roger Cukras (m. 2019), Willie Gordon (m. 1988–2015), Miguel Frías (m. 1962–1987)
  • Children: Paula Frías Allende, Nicolás Frías
  • Education: Liceo N°1 Javiera Carrera
  • Parents: Tomás Allende, Francisca Llona Barros
  • Siblings: Francisco Allende Llona, Georgia Allende Llona, Juan Allende
  • Author: Editors


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