Chilean national treasure Isabel Allende is the author of 24 works of fiction and non-fiction including, “The House of Spirits”, “Eva Luna”, “Island Beneath the Sea”, “Of Love and Shadows” and “Ripper”, which have sold over 74 million copies in 40 languages.
At home in San Rafael, California, Allende devotes much of her time to human rights causes when she’s not churning out another bestseller. Growing up in Chile, the only female writers she knew about were old or dead with sad stories and sadder personal tragedies. “I love telling stories. I like to write and never thought that I could be a writer because the only women writers that I knew about were all some old British spinsters that had died or had committed suicide. The rest were just males; the great boom of Latin American literature was a bunch of men. There were no women there, so I never thought that I would be a writer, but I could be a journalist. I found a job in a feminine, very avant-garde magazine that started to deal with feminism early on when it wasn’t an issue in Chile yet. I had found my perfect niche, and that’s how I began writing. I wasn’t thinking that I was giving a voice to women. It was just random energy and the wish—the desire—to change everything, to change the society, the culture, the religion, everything.”
Allende's new novel, "A Long Petal of the Sea," tells the story of two refugees who forge an unlikely bond as they flee to Chile after the Spanish Civil War. Presenting themes of displacement, love and self-reinvention through a historical lens, the novel explores what it means to migrate and be in exile.