During Cleveland Book Week, the incomparable Isabel Allende joked at age 75 about her new boyfriend, and about her approach to literature:
“I’ve been writing for 35 years and I have no idea how I do it. I don’t have an idea of what the book is about until it’s published and I read the reviews,” she quipped in a talk on life and literature at the City Club of Cleveland.
She begins each book on January 8, commemorating the day she sat down at her kitchen table — a stymied 40-year-old exile — to begin a letter to her century-old grandfather. That letter poured out of her until it became The House of the Spirits, which launched Allende onto a global stage. It led to her being named this year’s Anisfield-Wolf recipient for lifetime achievement.
“Having a sacred day to start is like magic,” the Chilean-American woman said. “What began as superstition is now like discipline.” Her next novel, In the Midst of Winter, goes on sale October 31.
View her talk in full below and join our mailing list to be among the first to hear the lineup for Cleveland Book Week 2018.