Isabel Allende was born on August 2, 1942, in Lima, Peru. She is the niece and goddaughter of Salvador Allende, the former president of Chile. She began her writing career as a journalist.
Several months after her uncle's assassination and the overthrow of Chile's coalition government in 1973, Allende left Chile and found refuge in Venezuela. Her first novel, The House of the Spirits (1985), which arose directly out of her exile, became a worldwide bestseller and critical success. Some of her works include Of Love and Shadows (1987), The Infinite Plan (1993), Daughter of Fortune (1999) and Zorro (2005). Allende's work is written in the style of magic realism, which uses fantasy and myth to override time and place.
At the urging of her three grandchildren, Allende wrote her first book for young adults, City of the Beasts, which was published in 2002. Her next books for young readers, Kingdom of the Golden Dragon (2003) and Forest of the Pygmies (2005), soon followed. Along with fiction, Allende also delved into her own life with several memoirs, including Paula (1995) and My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey Through Chile (2003).