Spark & Fire: Fuel Your Creativity

Turn memory into art: Isabel Allende on “The House of the Spirits”

Jan. 19, 2021

How do you write the stories of your life? Any time, any place, any order. Isabel Allende was 39, and a refugee from her native Chile, when she started writing a letter to her dying grandfather – recounting the family stories he'd told her – of love, loss, memory, magic. This letter evolved into her first novel, the beloved epic "The House of the Spirits.” With her trademark warmth and wit, Isabel shares how she found the time and space to write as she rebuilt her life – and how her 500-page typed manuscript, heavy with correction fluid and coffee stains, found its way to the agent in Madrid who made it an instant international sensation. Throughout the story – told entirely in Isabel's brilliantly chosen words – you'll hear never-before-told details about her creative process and journey, including ideas on story structure and writing rituals; first readers and family politics – all of which can fuel your own story-telling.

A novelist, storyteller and social activist, Isabel Allende is the author of The House of the Spirits and Eva Luna among many other novels; her nonfiction works include the powerful double autobiography Paula. Follow her at @IsabelAllende

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