A novelist and journalist who has sold more than 35 million copies of her books and is considered Latin America’s most popular female writer, Allende was born on Aug. 2, 1942 in Lima during the time her father was Chile’s ambassador to Peru.
Allende went into exile in Venezuela in 1973 after her uncle, the late former President Salvador Allende, was overthrown and died in a coup. It was there that she produced her most important work, especially the acclaimed novel La casa de los espíritus, which was published in 1982.
Her books, which have been translated into 27 languages, are mainly based on her experiences as a woman. In 1994, she published a memoir titled Paula that was dedicated to and named after her daughter, who died in 1992 after a long battle with porphyria.
Allende, who currently lives in the United States, has been awarded Chile’s Gabriela Mistral literature prize and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004.