Born in Peru, Isabel Allende was raised in Chile. Allende went into exile after her uncle, Chilean president Salvador Allende, was overthrown in a CIA-assisted coup in 1973. She is the author of the novels, short stories, a memoir and a collection of essays. In addition to numerous awards, Allende's novel Daughter of Fortune was chosen as an Oprah book club selection. Her books have been translated to more than 27 languages and have been best sellers in Europe, USA, Latin America and Australia. She lives in northern California.
Isabel Allende writes all her works in Spanish but has many translators all over the world. She has an especially close relationship with Margaret Sayers Peden who translates her works into English.
Allende starts writing each of her books on January 8th. That is the day she received the call telling her that her grandfather was dying, and the day she began a letter to him which would eventually become the novel The House of Spirits.
Salvador Allende, a famous Chilean political figure, was Isabel's uncle.
Allende founded The Paula Foundation in honor of her daughter who died in 1992. The Foundation has concentrated its efforts on education, health, protection and well being, mainly for women and children. It helps support other nonprofit organizations in the United States, Chile, Bangladesh, India and other countries.
"Wicked Girl," a short story from Isabel Allende's collection Stories of Eva Luna, was adapted into a ballet.
Created on December 9, 1996, the Isabel Allende Foundation pays homage to Paula Frias, Isabel's daughter, who passed away on December 6, 1992.
During her short life Paula worked as a volunteer in poor communities in Venezuela and Spain offering her time, her total dedication, and her skills as an educator and psychologist. She cared deeply for others. When in doubt, her motto was: What is the most generous thing to do? The Isabel Allende Foundation was created to honor Paula's life work, her ideals, and her compassion.
Seed funding for the foundation came from income Isabel Allende received from Paula, the best-selling book she wrote, inspired by her daughter's life and untimely death. Since 1996, Isabel has contributed to the foundation annually. She invites and welcomes contributions from others who share her vision of a more compassionate and just world.
We know that the quality of life for families and communities improves when women are given access to education, healthcare, and skills, so they can take care of themselves and their children. The more we empower women, the greater chance there is for them to overcome poverty and become a more compassionate and connected place. We therefore primarily support organizations that help those in need, especially women and children, by providing financial aid for education, healthcare, and protection.