Be one of the first to hear Isabel Allende, literary legend, social activist, and feminist icon, discuss her new book The Soul of a Woman, opens a new window, on March 5. Space is limited so reserve your spot, opens a new window now! Celebrated local author Kali Fajardo-Anstine, whose short story collection Sabrina and Corina, opens a new window was a 2019 National Book Award finalist, will facilitate the virtual discussion for Jefferson County Public Library (JCPL) in what promises to be an unforgettable evening.
This free, virtual event gives you the chance to hear Allende discuss her memoir, which focuses on a lifelong passion to empower girls and women.
Allende’s life has inspired many, including Fajardo-Anstine. “I was so blown away by The House of the Spirits,” she says, “and after reading Eva Luna I was really hooked.”
In addition to the treasure trove of information woven throughout her stories, Allende is known for developing strong female characters who resonate with readers from all walks of life, and is herself an example of what women—especially Latinas—can achieve, says Fajardo-Anstine, who describes Allende as a symbol of storytelling.
Born in Peru to Chilean parents, Allende watched her mother struggle to raise three young children without appropriate resources or support, an experience that led her to a lifetime of advocacy for girls and women. In her latest book, Allende writes about what feeds the soul of all women today—“to be valued, to be safe, to have their own resources, and above all, to be loved.”
Developing and maintaining one’s own voice and identity is another theme in Allende’s books, which resonates with Fajardo-Anstine, a Colorado native. She was inspired to write Sabrina and Corina, opens a new window in her early 20s to connect with readers who would identify with the characters—Chicanas of indigenous ancestry from southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.
“I felt deeply lonely when I couldn’t see myself in literature,” Fajardo-Anstine says. “I wanted readers to feel seen, to identify with my characters.” When readers of all backgrounds tell her they identify with Sabrina, Fajardo-Anstine knows she achieved that goal and, she adds, “It shows the power literature has to connect us all.”
A connection with the Library
Fajardo-Anstine wrote much of her short story collection in study rooms at the Standley Lake Library, where she continues to visit and recently picked up a new copy of Lanny, opens a new window, a novel by Max Porter. One of seven children from what she calls a big storytelling family, Fajardo-Anstine found a quiet, “nourishing space that really benefitted my life as a writer” at the Library.
An appreciation for books and libraries led Fajardo-Anstine to apply for master’s degree programs in library science, to which she was accepted, but she could not shake the writing call. “In an alternate life I’d be a librarian,” she says. “I always feel safe when I have a book with me.”
Fajardo-Anstine is looking forward to her discussion with Allende and she plans to ask about pivotal moments in the author’s life. We encourage you to submit your own questions for Allende, opens a new window and share how her works have influenced your life. Tune in on March 5 and you may hear Allende answers your questions! The event will have a simultaneous, live Spanish translation, and a recording of the audio will be available through April 5.
In addition to sending questions for Allende, visit our event web page, opens a new window (also available in Spanish, opens a new window) to learn more about these two impressive authors, get a list of suggested read-alikes, and find additional event details. Sign up for the JCPL eConnect, opens a new window to get the inside scoop on upcoming JCPL events like these as well as valuable services.
Register now, opens a new window and join us for an evening with Allende in conversation with Fajardo-Anstine!