Isabel Allende is one of the most widely-read authors in the world, having sold more than 75 million books which have been translated into 42 languages. Allende won worldwide acclaim in 1982 with the publication of her first novel, The House of the Spirits. Since then, she has authored more than twenty-five bestselling and critically acclaimed books, including Daughter of Fortune, Island Beneath the Sea, Paula, The Japanese Lover, A Long Petal of the Sea, and her most recent memoir, The Soul of a Woman. Allende’s works always entertain and educate readers interweaving imaginative stories with significant historical events.
In addition to her work as a writer, Allende devotes much of her time to human rights causes. In 1996, following the death of her daughter Paula, she established a charitable foundation in her honor, which has awarded grants to more than 100 nonprofits worldwide, delivering life-changing care to hundreds of thousands of women and girls. More than 8 million have watched her TED Talks on leading a passionate life.
She has received fifteen honorary doctorates, including one from Harvard University, was inducted into the California Hall of Fame, received the PEN Center Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2014, President Barack Obama awarded Allende the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honour, and in 2018 she received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation. She lives in California.
Alex Clark is a critic, journalist and broadcaster who lives in London, and has been the Artistic Director for Words and Literature at the Bath Festival. She writes on a wide range of subjects for the Guardian, the Observer, the Spectator and the Times Literary Supplement. She has judged many literary awards, including the 2008 Man Booker prize. She regularly chairs live events, appears on radio and is the host of a monthly podcast for Vintage publishing.