Isabel Allende received the Lawrence Sanders Award, given by the Creative Writing Program, on the evening of March 5th. After the award presentation, a standing room only audience enjoyed listening to a warm, witty, and moving conversation between Allende and Professor Debra Dean.
The award, established in 2010, is given to an author whose work demonstrates the highest literary merit and has gained popular appeal. Previous recipients are Scott Turow and Pat Conroy. With 19 books that have sold more than 57 million copies in 35 languages, Allende epitomizes the spirit of the award. The Chilean author began her writing career as a journalist and has since collected an array of literary awards from around the world. She has addressed the question of popular appeal and literary merit, writing in the UK’s Observer, “The fact people think that when you sell a lot of books you are not a serious writer is a great insult to the readership.”