Isabel Allende is the First Spanish-Language Writer to Receive an Honorary National Book Award
The House of the Spirits author Isabel Allende received the National Book Award’s lifetime achievement medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, joining previous winners Toni Morrison, John Updike and Joan Didion. “Allende’s work is proof that stories about women written with women in mind are not only good business, but also represent crucial contributions to the literary landscape,” says the foundation’s executive director.
One of literature’s most prestigious honors, this medal recognizes writers who have made an exceptional impact on America’s literary heritage. Allende is the first Spanish-language author to be recognized with the DCAL honor, and only the second, since Saul Bellow, to be born outside the United States.
Allende’s books have sold nearly 70 million copies worldwide, and have been adapted into films, plays and television shows. Her talks are candid, funny, insightful reflections on her life and career. Her TED talk, about pursuing a passionate life, has been viewed over 3 million times.
Here is Allende catching up and celebrating at the event, without our founder and CEO David Lavin: