Weekly Geeks #24 - Favorite Author: Isabel Allende

Dewey's assignment this week is to choose a writer that we like and share some interesting information about him/her.

I've been an Isabel Allende fan for many years and have read all her books (except her YA novels and the most recent memoir). Her writing style is so colorful, laced with magical realism and characters that come alive on the page.

I love what Isabel says on her website:
It is very strange to write one's biography because it is just a list of dates, events, and achievements. In reality the most important things about one's life happen in the secret chambers of the heart and cannot be included in a list like this. I think that my most significant achievement is not my writing, but the love I share with my family and the ways in which I have tried to help others.
She was born in Chile in 1942; her uncle, Salvadore Allende, was president of Chile from 1970-73. He was killed in a coup d'├ętat. Pinochet's subsequent military rule has informed much of Isabel's writing; because of her family ties to President Allende, she was forced to flee Chile.

Allende started her writing career as a journalist in Chile and then in Venezuela. Her first and probably most famous book, The House of the Spirits, began as a letter to her dying grandfather. According to Wikipedia, "the intent of this work was to exorcise the ghosts of the Pinochet dictatorship."

Allende has written eight novels, three YA novels, a collection of short stories, and several memoirs and nonfiction works. She is the recipient of a long list of honors, awards and honorary degrees, including the CommonWealth Award of Distinguished Service for Literature and the Feminist of the Year Award from The Feminist Majority Foundation.

Interesting tidbit: Allende starts all her books on January 8th, a day she considers lucky and sacred.

Isabel Allende

From her website:
Q. How does inspiration work?

A. I spend ten, twelve hours a day alone in a room writing. I don't talk to anybody; I don't answer the telephone. I'm just a medium or an instrument of something that is happening beyond me, voices that talk through me. I'm creating a world that is fiction but that doesn't belong to me. I'm not God; I'm just an instrument. And in that long, very patient daily exercise of writing I have discovered a lot about myself and about life. I have learned. I'm not conscious of what I'm writing. It's a strange process; as if by this lying-in-fiction you discover little things that are true about yourself, about life, about people, about how the world works.
Be sure to check out Chris's post about George Eliot. Interesting stuff!



Bogsider said...

I LOVE Isabel Allende's books. House of Spirits is one of my absolute faves and I adored Portrait in Sepia and Daughter of Fortune as well. Thanks for posting this interesting bit.


Laura said...

You know I'm an Allende fan, too! Nice post Terri.

Skooter said...

And so I am reminded I really, REALLY need to read something by her! I've been meaning to for ages, but I always forget to look for her when I'm in a bookshop.

Serena said...

I haven't read too many of her books, but of the ones I've read, they are fantastic. Thanks for sharing this with the weekly geeks.