Perhaps the most acclaimed writer in the Spanish-speaking world, Mario Vargas Llosa has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature by the Swedish Academy for his “cartography of structures of power” and “trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat.”
The 74-year-old and one time presidential candidate, is the author more than 30 well know novels, plays and essays translated from Spanish into 31 languages. His best known works, their titles in English, are The Green House, Conversation in the Cathedral, The War of the End of the World, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter and A Fish in the Water: a Memoir, some having been turned into movies. 1990 Hollywood production Tune in Tomorrow was based on his novel Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, and starred Barbara Hershey, Peter Falk and Keanu Reeves.
The first Peruvian to be awarded the prize, the announcement was met with joy in the southern city of Arequipa where Vargas Llosa was born.
Currently teaching Latin American Studies for a semester at Princeton University, he was told by phone by the Swedish Academy’s Peter Englund and said to be very surprised and at first unsure if it was just a joke.
“He was very, very happy and very moved,” Englund said, adding that Vargas Llosa was “a divinely gifted story-teller,” whose writing touched the reader.
The author, well respected for five decades, has long been mentioned as a possible Nobel candidate, but repeated passed-over by an academy often accused as being too euro-centric.