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Many years ago, before she was a globally recognized novelist, Isabel Allende was working as a journalist for a feminist magazine in Chile. One day, poet Pablo Neruda —at that time sick and aging— invited her to his home in Isla Negra. She thought she was invited for an interview, but when it came time to start the interview, she got a lecture from Neruda about how she was a terrible journalist, and that she should try writing literature instead.

Of course, eventually, Isabel Allende did write literature, and was very good at. She’s written 18 novels and won countless literary awards. And who knows: perhaps it was her conversation with Neruda long ago that set her down that path.

Isabel Allende recounts the story to Latino USA.

Photos via Wikimedia Commons