Haiti, Revolution, and Emotional Exile: A Conversation With Isabel Allende

Arts Express: Acclaimed Latina author Isabel Allende talks slavery and memory, the Middle Passage, and revolutionary uprising in 18th century Haiti in her new novel, Island Beneath The Sea, in this Arts Express exclusive conversation. And her own journey into political and emotional exile after the 1973 CIA orchestrated coup in Chile; remembering Salvador Allende, her uncle and the president of Chile, and the tragic victim of that Pinochet coup; and why she gets mad whenever she reads history.

Island Beneath The Sea focuses on the life of a young female slave Zarite during that that turbulent time in Haitian history, and her eventual exile to New Orleans. Allende speaks about where within the recesses of her prolific imagination this character came passionately to life. And why without her idea for her first novel, The House of The Spirits, Allende would not be a writer today. The story was later adapted into a movie in 1993, in which Antonio Banderas plays a defiant young Chilean revolutionary. The film, with selective scenes included with this interview, also stars Meryl Streep, Winona Ryder, Vanessa Redgrave and Jeremy Irons.


Also on Arts Express, Richard Klin and Lily Prince discuss and debate their collection of prominent creative activist visionary voices, Something To Say: Thoughts On Art And Politics In America. Included are interviews with Pete Seeger, the late Howard Zinn, Quincy Troupe, Yoko Ono, and some unusual recent ones like food justice activist Didi Emmons and young political cartoonist, Jen Sorensen. Quincy Troupe reads his poetry.

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.