Peruvian Intellectual Mario Vargas Llosa Wins Nobel Prize

Peruvian author and Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa.
Peruvian author and Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa.
Peruvian author and Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa.

Today in Latin America

Top Story Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa won the 2010 Nobel Prize in literature Thursday due in part for his writings about political corruption in Latin America.

The 74-year old Llosa received the news early Thursday morning in New York as he was preparing for a class he teaches at Princeton University. He is the first author from a Spanish-speaking country to receive the award since Octavio Paz of Mexico won in 1990.

The Swedish Academy, which awards Nobel Prizes, praised “his cartography of structures of power” and “trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat”.

Vargas Llosa is best known for his work concerning Latin America’s elite and the inner-workings of power in the region.

“Latin America seemed to be a land where there were only dictators, revolutionaries, catastrophes. Now we know that Latin America can produce also artists, musicians, painters, thinkers and novelists,” he said, according to the New York Times.

Besides his writings, Vargas Llosa also dabbled in politics with a 1990 failed presidential bid in Peru. He ran on a platform of free markets and free trade.

In picking Vargas Llosa the Swedish Academy made another literary choice tinged with politics, except this time from the right instead of the left. Vargas Llosa criticized Latin America’s right-wing dictatorships early in career, but split with the left after Fidel Castro imprisoned the poet Heberto Padilla in 1971.

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