#RespectYourElders: It’s #WomensHistoryMonth, so we’re recognizing one of the world’s most influential female authors, Isabel Allende.
Allende (born 1942) is a Chilean-American writer often regarded as the “world’s most widely read Spanish-language author.” Throughout her career, Allende has published 23 books that have been translated into 35 languages. Her most popular literary works are in the magical realism genre, including “The House of the Spirits” and “City of the Beasts.” Many of her books have been adapted into films, plays, musicals, operas, ballets and radio programs.
Allende is passionate about women’s rights, which is evident in many of her novels. Her works often pay homage to influential women from different historical eras, and draw on her own experiences. At one point in her career, Allende was even fired from her job translating novels from English to Spanish because she made unauthorized changes to dialogue to make the stories’ heroines sound smarter.
In addition to demonstrating her dedication to women’s rights through her writing, Allende also created the Isabel Allende Foundation in honor of her daughter, Paula, who passed away at age 29. Focused primarily in California and Chile, the Isabel Allende Foundation provides vulnerable women and girls with education and support in the areas of reproductive rights, economic independence and freedom from violence. The foundation has awarded grants to more than 100 nonprofits who help serve its mission. And for more than 20 years, Allende herself has lectured internationally about women’s rights and empowering women.
Allende, who became an American citizen in 1993, has been highly recognized for her work in the United States and around the world. She’s received more than 60 awards across 15 different countries, as well as 15 international honorary doctorate degrees. In 2004, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts in Letters, a 250-member honor society that fosters excellence in American literature, music and fine arts. In 2010, she received Chile’s National Literature Prize. And in 2014, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.
Today, Allende continues to produce new works of fiction. Her most recent novel, “In the Midst of Winter,” was published in 2017. Read a review of the book in the New York TImes here.