“Write what should not be forgotten,” the Chilean novelist Isabel Allende has said. Though committed to preserving the past, Allende’s work is often labeled “magical realism,” because of the way she plays with surrealism. The injustices she explores, however, are all too real: sexual violence, the indignities of poverty, political oppression. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014, Allende has always used fiction, and even the fantastical, to face hardship rather than to escape from it. Her latest work, The Soul of a Woman, is a memoir that views her life (she’s now 78) through the lens of her feminism. She hopes the book will “light the torches” of future generations. Coinciding with the memoir’s publication, Allende joins the New York Times writer Concepción de León in conversation. They will attempt to answer a single question: “What feeds the soul of feminists—and all women—today?” Hosted by The Strand, the event is part of PEN Out Loud, a year-round series of discussions that provides platforms for diverse voices in writing. —C.J.F.
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