Posted on September 20, 2018 at 1:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Isabel Allende will become the first Spanish-language author to receive the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

The award, given out each year since 1988, recognizes individuals who have made an exceptional impact on the United States’s literary heritage.

The National Book Foundation made the announcement Thursday. Its board chairman, David Steinberger, said in a statement:

Able to forge profoundly emotional connections with readers around the world, Isabel Allende has offered generations of fans multilayered and deeply felt narratives that illuminate the rich lives and histories of her characters.

Allende’s debut novel, The House of the Spirits, earned her both bestseller status and critical acclaim.

The book grew out of letters written to her dying grandfather, who lived in Chile, a country that Allende had fled during General Augusto Pinochet’s brutal regime.

Since House of Spirits was published in 1982, she has written twenty-two books since, selling nearly seventy million copies overall, and her works have been translated into thirty-five different languages.

Her medal will be presented at the National Book Award ceremony on November 14 by Mexican-American writer and Pulitzer Prize nominee Luis Alberto Urrea, best known for the acclaimed The Devil’s Highway

Read more about Allende and the award on the National Book Foundation’s website, and check out her recent interview with The Associated Press.

Categories: Today in Books

Tagged As: Awards, Diversity

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