Novelist Isabel Allende writes stories of passion. Her novels and memoirs, including The House of the Spirits and Eva Luna, tell the stories of women and men who live with passionate commitment — to love, to their world, to an ideal.

Why you should listen

As a novelist and memoirist, Isabel Allende writes of passionate lives, including her own. Born into a Chilean family with political ties, she went into exile in the United States in the 1970s -- an event that, she believes, created her as a writer. Her voice blends sweeping narrative with touches of magical realism; her stories are romantic, in the very best sense of the word. Her novels include The House of the Spirits, Eva Luna and The Stories of Eva Luna, and her latest, Ines of My Soul and La Suma de los Dias (The Sum of Our Days). And don't forget her adventure trilogy for young readers -- City of the Beasts, Kingdom of the Golden Dragon and Forest of the Pygmies.

As a memoirist, she has written about her vision of her lost Chile, in My Invented Country, and movingly tells the story of her life to her own daughter, in Paula. Her book Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses memorably linked two sections of the bookstore that don't see much crossover: Erotica and Cookbooks. Just as vital is her community work: The Isabel Allende Foundation works with nonprofits in the SF Bay Area and Chile to empower and protect women and girls -- understanding that empowering women is the only true route to social and economic justice.

What others say

"Allende can spin a funny, sensual yarn, but she can also use her narrative skills to remind us that parallel to our placid and comfortable existence is another, invisible universe, one where poverty, misery and torture are all too real." — Patricia Hart, The Nation

Isabel Allende’s TED talks

Isabel Allende on the TED Blog
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Live from TED2014

Passion and aging: Isabel Allende at TED2014

March 21, 2014

Author Isabel Allende is 71. Her husband is 76, her parents are in their late 90s and her dog, Olympia, is 16. So she’s confronting the issue of aging head-on and thinking hard about how to live passionately through the process. “Society decides when we are old, usually at 65,” says Allende. “But really, we start […]

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Live from TED2014

Passion: The speakers in session 10 of TED2014

March 20, 2014

Our passions are what drive us through our lives and our work. What unexpected places can they take us? In this session, seven speakers show the incredible range of answers. Below, the speakers who appeared in this session. Click on a speaker’s name to read a full recap of their talk. Mellody Hobson advocates for financial […]

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News

New to the TED2014 speaker lineup…

February 27, 2014

TED2014, “The Next Chapter,” is less than a month away, and four new speakers have been added to the program. Here, get to know just a little bit about them. First, Peggy Liu will join session 3, “Reshape,” to talk about how environmentalism is a must in China. But do not expect to hear words […]

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Quotes from Isabel Allende

For real change, we need feminine energy in the management of the world. We need a critical number of women in positions of power, and we need to nurture the feminine energy in men.
Isabel Allende
TED2007 • 2.8M views Jan 2008
Inspiring, Courageous
Although women do two-thirds of the world’s labor, they own less than one percent of the world’s assets.
Isabel Allende
TED2007 • 2.8M views Jan 2008
Inspiring, Courageous
Giving women education, work, the ability to control their own income, inherit and own property, benefits the society. If a woman is empowered, her children and her family will be better off. If families prosper, the village prospers, and eventually so does the whole country.
Isabel Allende
TED2007 • 2.8M views Jan 2008
Inspiring, Courageous