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Who's in the Video
Isabel Allende is a Chilean-American author who has published 18 books, including works of fiction, non-fiction, and memoir. She is one of the best-known female writers in Latin America, and[…]

Like magic realism, Isabel Allende’s life has transcended borders.

Question: Why did you choose to move to the U.S. and become a rncitizen?

Isabel Allende: Yes, I came to the United States because Irn fell in love and I forced my guy—I forced him into marriage.  And so I rnbecame a resident.  And then I realized that I couldn’t bring my rnchildren.  I couldn’t sponsor my children if I wasn’t a citizen.  So I rnbecame a citizen.  But by then, I had learned to love this country; I rnhave received a lot from this country.  I'm very critical, but at the rnsame time I'm very grateful.  And I want to give back.  I belong here.

rn Question:
Do you now consider yourself an American rnwriter?

Isabel Allende: I’m a writer.  In Latin America they say rnI’m a Latin-American writer because I also write in Spanish and my booksrn are translated, but I am an American citizen and my books are publishedrn here, so I'm also an American writer. 

Are you a writer in exile?

Isabel Allende: No.  Exile is something very specific.  rnExile is when circumstances beyond your control, you were forced to rnleave your land and you cannot return.  That is very specifically to be rnin exile.  And I was a political refugee in exile for 13 years in rnVenezuela.  And then I moved to the United States and a year later we rnhad democracy in Chile and I could return to Chile, but I didn’t becausern I was married, I had made the choice to stay here.  So, now I am an rnimmigrant.  I’m not an exile.

Do you consider yourself a magic realist writer?

rnIsabel Allende: I think that life is very mysterious and there rnare many things we don’t know.  And there are elements of magic realism rnin every culture, everywhere, read Toni Morrison, read South African rnauthors, it’s not only Latin-American.  It's just accepting that we rndon’t know everything and everything is possible.

Recorded on May 3, 2010
Interviewed by Priya George