Mario Vargas Llosa wins Nobel prize for literature

By | 08 October, 2010

Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa has been awarded the Nobel prize for literature. The author, who we profiled in a recent article, was given the award – using Nobel’s words – “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat”. Not to mention the fact that he is an author who has seemingly mastered the world of writing, as gifted at writing novels as short stories, poems and adaptations.

His work includes over 30 novels, essays and plays that have been widely translated in English, French, Swedish and German.  Some of his best-known works include “Conversation in the Cathedral,” “Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter,” “The Green House,” “The Feast of the Goat,” “A Fish in the Water: a Memoir” and “The Storyteller.” Some of his other honors include winning the Cervantes Prize in 1995, the highest literary honor in the Spanish-speaking world.

Many great authors around the world have had their say on Vargas Llosa since the prize was awarded. Here is William Boyd in The Guardian:

“The body of work that Vargas Llosa has produced since his first novel, The Time of the Hero in 1963, is both prodigious and admirable. The range is remarkable – from the surreal fantasies of the radio soap operas in Aunt Julia to the baroque comedy of Captain Pantoja and the Special Service; from weighty historical epics such as The War at the End of the World and The Feast of the Goat to the whodunit thriller-style of Who Killed Palomero Molero? Vargas Llosa is very hard to classify and pin down as a writer: he has written short novels and very long novels, comic novels and deeply serious novels, straightforward realistic novels and recognisably South American “magic-realist” novels.”

Isabel Allende, the renowked Chilean author has also spoken about her admiration:

“I am very, very happy for this greatly deserved award. Mario Vargas Llosa has been on the minds of the Swedish Academy members for over a decade because they became aware of his merits as a writer with extraordinary narrative talent, and they saw him as an intellectual and as an observer of the political and social reality of our time. It touches me that he is the recipient of the Nobel Prize and that this award will once again bring world’s attention to Latin American literature.”

Vargas Llosa has had to wait some time for the award. The other two greats of South American literature, Pablo Neruda and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, won it in 1982 and 1971 respectively. Perhaps one of the biggest factors in Vargas Llosa having to wait was his defection to the liberal right and his ambitions for political status, which has led to some loss of regard by the left, who can often see the right and creativity as compatible. With this in mind, it makes the award all the more impressive.

Recommended works:

Conversation in the Cathedral
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter
The Green House
The Feast of the Goat
The Storyteller
War of the End of the World


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