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Catch Spirit of Author Isabel Allende at Granada

Allende's stories blend her personal stories, with fiction and significant historical events.

Isabel Allende
Isabel Allende (Lori Barra)

UCSB Arts & Lectures will present An Evening with Isabel Allende at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, at The Granada Theatre, 1214 State St., Santa Barbara.

Literary legend Isabel Allende is beloved for her sweeping narratives mixed with deeply personal, deftly political, evocatively historical writing.

Allende wrote her bestselling first novel, The House of the Spirits, in exile from her home country of Chile.

Throughout the 20 works of fiction and memoirs she has written since, including her latest, The Japanese Lover, Allende’s romanticism blends with her wisdom from the experiences that have shaped her life.

In her appearance at The Granada, Allende will weave together her family history, literary trailblazing and the sorrows and heart-stirring beauty of the human condition.

When The House of the Spirits, was published in 1982, it brought Allende worldwide acclaim and launched her career as an author.

The book, which grew out of a farewell letter to her dying grandfather, also established her as a feminist force in Latin America’s male-dominated literary world.

Among her novels are Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, Stories of Eva Luna, The Infinite Plan, Daughter of Fortune, Portrait in Sepia, Zorro, Ines of My Soul, Island Beneath the Sea, Maya’s Notebook, and Ripper.

Her nonfiction titles include Aphrodite, a humorous collection of recipes, essays and three memoirs; My Invented Country; Paula, a bestseller that documents Allende’s daughter’s illness and death, as well as her own life; and The Sum of Our Days.

Allende’s books intertwine her stories with significant historical events.

Settings for her books include Chile throughout the 15th, 19th and 20th centuries, the California Gold Rush, the guerrilla movement of 1960s Venezuela, the Vietnam War, and the 18th century slave revolt in Haiti.

A journalist for Chilean television and magazines in the late 1960s and early '70s, Allende’s life was forever altered when Gen. Augusto Pinochet led a military coup in 1973 that toppled Chile’s socialist reform government.

Allende’s cousin Salvador Allende, who had been elected Chile’s president in 1970, was killed in the coup.

The Pinochet regime was marked early on by repression and brutality, and Allende became involved with groups offering aid to victims of the regime.

Ultimately finding it unsafe to remain in Chile, she fled the country in 1975 with her husband and two children. The family lived in exile in Venezuela for the next 13 years.

Allende describes her fiction as “realistic literature,” rooted in her upbringing and the mystical people and events that fueled her imagination.

Her writings are equally informed by her feminist convictions, her commitment to social justice and the harsh political realities that shaped her destiny.

Allende also devotes much of her time to human rights. Following her daughter's death in 1992, she established in Paula’s honor a charitable foundation dedicated to the protection and empowerment of women and children worldwide.

Since 1987, Allende has made her home in the San Francisco Bay Area. She became a U.S. citizen in 1993 but, as she says, she lives with one foot in California and the other in Chile.

An Evening with Isabel Allende is presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures with support from our Community Partner the Orfalea Family.

Tickets are $20-$35 for the general public, $10 for all students with valid student ID. A Granada facility fee will be added to each ticket price. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

For tickets and more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures, 893-3535, or visit www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu, or contact The Granada Theatre, 899-2222 or granadasb.org.

— Caitlin O'Hara for UCSB Arts & Lectures.


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