Magic & Mountains
Magic & Mountains
Oct 23, 2023
Lighting the Candle of Story with Isabel Allende
Play • 44 min

Stories emerge from the darkness… characters walk out of a mist… no map, no directions, just a candle and an invitation to muse.

This is how Isabel Allende writes – with transcendence, vulnerability, and magic.

In this wonderfully candid and soulful conversation, Isabel shares with us the heartbreaking story of how she lost her beloved daughter Paula, which inspired the book Paula. She also speaks about her sacred writing process, which can be a catharsis. She even shares with us an extraordinary perspective about life given to her by her grandmother.

T. A. and Isabel share something truly special in this conversation. Not only a beautiful friendship, but a love of writing stories with the door cracked open to mystery. Stories of forgiveness, of starting again, of courage, compassion, and perseverance. Together they explore how to honor each person’s story, how to listen to characters, and how to bring characters to life.

About Isabel Allende:

Isabel Allende—novelist, feminist, and philanthropist—is one of the most widely-read authors in the world, having sold more than 77 million books. Chilean born in Peru, Isabel won worldwide acclaim in 1982 with the publication of her first novel, The House of the Spirits, which began as a letter to her dying grandfather. Since then, she has authored more than twenty six bestselling and critically acclaimed books, including Daughter of Fortune, Island Beneath the Sea, Paula, The Japanese Lover, A Long Petal of the Sea and her most recent memoir, The Soul of a Woman. Translated into more than forty two languages, Allende’s works entertain and educate readers by interweaving imaginative stories with significant historical events.

In addition to her work as a writer, Allende devotes much of her time to human rights causes. In 1996, following the death of her daughter Paula, she established a charitable foundation in her honor, which has awarded grants to more than 100 nonprofits worldwide, delivering life-changing care to hundreds of thousands of women and girls. More than 8 million have watched her TED Talks on leading a passionate life.

She has received fifteen honorary doctorates, including one from Harvard University, was inducted into the California Hall of Fame, received the PEN Center Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2014, President Barack Obama awarded Allende the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, and in 2018 she received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation. She lives in California. Her website is

Check out Isabel’s books Violeta, Paula, and Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses.

Visit the Isabel Allende Foundation for more information on her work with women.

Magic & Mountains is hosted by T. A. Barron, beloved author of 32 books and counting. Carolyn Hunter is co-host.

Magic & Mountains Theme Song by Julian Peterson.

More episodes
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu