Isabel Allende in New York City: “Don’t expect to write the great American novel in one sitting.”

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Isabel Allende, America's Society/NYC, April 15/2014

She will receive an award tonight. (Photo: Zygmunt Malinowski)

Our roving photographer/reporter Zygmunt Malinowski has been out and about this week – yesterday, he photographed renowned Chilean author Isabel Allende, hours before her public chat with Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman at the Americas Society, the premier New York City institution providing a forum for Latin America.  Allende will attend  the 2014 Gabriela Mistral Foundation Humanitarian Award Dinner tonight and receive an award.

Isabel Allende, America's Society. April 15/2014

She shows up. (Photo: Zygmunt Malinowski)

Said Zygmunt: “I attended the press conference for her recent novels Maya’s Notebook and Ripper, photo-op was included, even though I had to rush and skip the public conversation because of a planned trip [webcast of the discussion is here]. Her latest book is Ripper (2014), a crime novel, was something new for her. She had a rough start and it only jelled for her when she attended a Marin County conference for crime book enthusiasts.”

“Who doesn’t remember House of the Spirits?” he said of one of the magic realist author’s successful first book, which became a major film. “The film was also popular overseas. When it premiered in Warsaw in 1994 in the Palace of Culture/Congress Hall, the three thousand-seat theatre was filled to capacity. Many dignitaries attended, including government representatives, politicians, and actors.”

From Zygmunt’s notes during the press conference:

On writing fiction:

“The first responsibility of fiction writer is to make your story believable, it has to have a solid foundation. That’s why I research.” (She used a researcher for her latest book.)

A question from Writer magazine: “What is the most important thing you learned about writing?”

“Show up. In the beginning it’s work. Later it’s pure joy.”

“Don’t expect to write the great American novel in one sitting.”

“There are only very few that make their living as writers.”  She remembered another writer who told her:  “Don’t expect your art to support you otherwise the weight will kill you.”


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