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Mario Vargas Llosa - Peru's Nobel Prize Winner

posted 24 Oct 2010, 07:19 by Mpelembe   [ updated 24 Oct 2010, 07:20 ]

Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa has long been regarded as
one of the most acclaimed writers, playwrights, essayists
and literary critics in Latin America. Recently this
reputation was confirmed by the prestigious 2010 Nobel Prize
for Literature. This makes him one of two Latin Americans to
have won the prize, alongside Colombian Gabriel Garcia

Born in Arequipa, Peru, Vargas Llosa stays true to his
roots. Most of his novels take place in Peru and follow the
traditional Peruvian fiction regarding social protest that
exposes political corruption, violence and racial
prejudices. Despite dealing with such passionate and
personal topics, he is known for maintaining a lack of
preaching or having to reconcile ideological propaganda with
artistic aims.

After being born in Arequipa, Peru in 1936, Vargas Llosa
moved to Bolivia after his parents separated, with his
mother and maternal grandparents. The family returned to
live in northern Peru in 1946 and then moved to Lima, Peru.
He first attended military school and then studied
literature and law in Lima, and afterwards Spain. During
this time, he wrote several books on literary criticism as
well as fiction and started to become a famous writer whose
ambitious goal was to rejuvenate the Latin American novel.

During the 1960s, the country of Peru suffered from problems
in the publishing industry and many Peruvian writers suffered
as well. Vargas Llosa moved to France and was a Spanish
teacher, journalist and broadcaster in the early 1960s.
During the late 1960s, he served as an adjunct professor at
many European and American universities.

It was in 1962, however, that Vargas Llosa primarily became
known as a novelist with the book, "The Time of the Hero",
which takes place at one of the military academies where he
had been a student. It won immediate international
recognition although it was considered controversial in his
own country where 1000 copies were publicly burned by
Peruvian military officials.

Since then, he has written over thirty novels, plays and
essays including "Conversation in the Cathedral" and the
"The Green House". He was awarded the Cervantes Prize, the
Hispanic world's most distinguished literary honor in 1995.

In addition to novels, Vargas Llosa has published a great
deal of criticism and literary and political journalism. He
has been a writer with an international following and has
written for The New York Times, Le Monde, The Times Literary
Supplement, El País, and other well-known newspapers.
The book, "Diary of Iraq", published in 2003, is a
collection of his articles for El País magazine about
the war in Iraq. In 2005 he travelled to Israel and Palestine
with his daughter to record his impressions in the book
"Israel/Palestine: Peace or War". The Jewish community in
South America had mixed reactions.

Entering the political arena, he ran to become president of
Peru in 1990 but lost to Alberto Fujimori. In 1994, he was
the first Latin American writer to be elected to the Spanish
Academy and he took his seat there in 1996.

If you are planning a vacation to Peru or would like to get
to know the country better, be sure to check out some of
Mario Vargas Llosa's varied works for a unique and intimate
view of the Peruvian psychology. It might help explain some
of the strange things you encounter when travelling!

About the Author:

Gary Sargent is the Managing Director of the tour companies
Escaped to Peru and has lived in South America since 1998.
Gary is passionate about Peruvian life, people, customs and
places. Visit Gary's website for more Peru travel advice or
to book your next Peru vacation at