Isabel Allende speaks on love, loss to 1,100-plus crowd at SNC Tahoe | SierraSun.com

Isabel Allende speaks on love, loss to 1,100-plus crowd at SNC Tahoe

Special to the Bonanza

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — More than 1,100 people braved traffic on Saturday to hear bestselling author and US Presidential Medal of Honor winner Isabel Allende speak on the subjects of love and loss.

Allende was the featured speaker for the 2015 Siebens-Binz Tahoe Forum, a biennial lecture series endowed by Nancy Siebens Binz at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village.

"What are the fundamental themes that define my life?" Allende asked the audience. "Two things come to mind: loss and love."

Typical of her lifelong quest to turn struggle into triumph through her writing, Allende shared openly with the audience about the challenges of losing loved ones and the joys of living a passionate life.

Though she opened her 45-minute talk admitting that, because of her separation from her husband of nearly three decades and the subsequent loss of her beloved Tibetan Terrier, Olivia, 2015 "has been a very rough year," she concluded with a triumphant statement of joy: "I am going to say yes to whatever comes my way. Yes to love, and yes to life."

Brent Boynton, the host of KNPB-TV's A Conversation, praised Ms. Allende as "charming and gracious" after he interviewed her at SNC Tahoe for an upcoming episode of his show.

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"She was one of my most memorable interviews," he said.

For those who were not able to attend the Tahoe Forum or who would like more of Allende's elegant and candid humor, that episode will air on KNPB on October 9 at 8:30 p.m.

The audience was a diverse and interesting crowd, including former Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki and SNC Tahoe's new president, Dr. Alan Walker.

Allende captured the audience with her heartfelt words and style; one prominent community member noted, "It was one of the best public talks I have ever heard."

Administrators at the college indicated that the forum drew people from as far as 250 miles away, including Palo Alto, Calif., and towns throughout Northern California and Nevada.

During the question and answer session following Allende's talk, topics included cultural displacement and the refugee crisis: "we do have a refugee crisis right here in the United States of America," Allende commented.

Her forthcoming new book, "The Japanese Lover," was released in Spanish earlier this year and will be released in English on Nov. 3.

This article was submitted by Sierra Nevada College. Visit sierranevada.edu to learn more.