Birthplace: Lima, Peru
The daughter of a diplomat, best-selling author Isabel Allende spent her childhood in South America, Europe, and the Middle East. As a teenager she returned to her family's native country, Chile, where she became a writer and television host, but fled in 1975 following a military coup. Allende published her first and most acclaimed novel, House of the Spirits, in 1985. She has lived and worked in the U.S. since 1988.