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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[…]

Writers only need to gather stories and tell them. “I’m not trying to deliver any kind of mission, and I don’t think I have a mission—except telling a story,” says the author.

Question: What should the writer’s role in society be?

Isabel Allende: Tell stories.  Gather stories and tell rnthem.  Personally, I don’t feel I have a mission that I have to preach rnabout anything.  I write about things I care for, the things I believe. rn And I just want to tell a story.  Why have I chosen that story in rnparticular and not another one?  Why I have never chose a story about rnWall Street, for example? Because it has nothing to do with me.  It rndoesn’t touch me in any way.  And I chose stories of strong women, of rnmarginal people, of violence, and death, and loss, and love, and rnfriendship, because that’s what really has been important in my life.  rnSo, the person I am and what I think sort of filters in through the rnlines, but I’m not trying to deliver any kind of mission, and I don’t rnthink I have a mission—except telling a story. 

Isn’t your work with your foundation part of a mission?

Isabel Allende: But that is not my writing.  That is my rnlife.  And you asked me about my writing.  And as a citizen, as a human rnbeing, as a woman, I think I do have an obligation and a mission to helprn my sisters.  I'm very privileged.  I had education, health care, I havern a husband that loves me and I’ve never been beaten up, I have had a rngood life.  And I have had, of course, losses like everybody does, but rnmy life has not been bad.  And in my lifetime, I have lived the strugglern of feminism for 50 years.  And I see that not everything that we rnthought would be achieved by now has been achieved.  There is still a rnlot of work to be done and I want to be part of that work.  So, that’s rnwhat my foundation does.  We work in empowerment of women and girls in rnthe areas of health care, protection, and education.

Recorded on May 3, 2010
rnInterviewed by Priya George