News / Americas

    Peruvian Writer Says His Nobel is Tribute to Latin American Literature

    Mario Vargas Llosa (file photo)
    Mario Vargas Llosa (file photo)

    Peruvian-born writer Mario Vargas Llosa has won the 2010 Nobel Prize for literature, the first Spanish-language winner in more than two decades.

    Peter Englund of the Nobel Committee in Stockholm made the announcement Thursday morning, calling the novelist, essayist and playwright a "divinely gifted" storyteller.  He cited Vargas Llosa's "cartography of the structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt and defeat."

    Vargas Llosa is the first Latin American writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature since Mexican writer Octavio Paz won in 1990, and the first South-American since Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez received the prize in 1982.

    Writer Vargas Llosa, 74, is the author of more than 30 novels, plays and essays, including The Feast of the Goat, Conversations in the Cathedral, and Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter.

    He told reporters in New York, where he is living while he teaches Latin American studies at Princeton University, that the award was a tribute not only to his work, but to Latin American literature as a whole.  He said the region existed as a stereotype in the vision of Europeans and Americans when he began writing in the 1960s.

    "I think it's interesting how Latin America literature, when I was young, when I started to write, was practically ignored by the rest of the world," he said. "Latin America seemed to be a land in which there were only dictators, revolutionaries, catastrophes. Well, now we know that Latin America can produce also artists, musicians, painters, thinkers and novelists."

    Vargas Llosa has always been politically engaged as a writer and as a citizen. "I have always [been] very critical of all kinds of dictatorships, dictatorships from the left, dictatorships from the right," he said. "I have criticized and I still criticize the Cuban dictatorship, as I criticized the Chilean dictatorship in the times of Pinochet.  I defend democracy, I defend liberal reforms -- I think this is the road to progress, to civilization."

    After turning from left-wing politics to a free-market convservatism, he ran unsuccessfully for president of Peru in 1990, losing to Alberto Fujimori, who was later convicted of human rights abuses.  Vargas Llosa moved to Spain after the election, not returning to his native land for seven years.

    Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo also happened to be in New York during the announcement and attended his friend's news conference at the Cervantes Instiitute.

    "Mario Vargas Llosa is, a defender of freedom and democracy in the world, particularly in Latin American," Toledo said. "And although Mario Vargas Llosa is as Peruvian as a Pisco Sour [a Peruvian cocktail], he also belongs to the world. And this recognition, that is what it does."

    Vargas Llosa still lives part-time in Spain, where he writes an influential column for El Pais, a Spanish-language daily newspaper in Madrid.  He says that politics must be part of literature -- as it is part of life --- but that it is secondary when he writes.

    "I am basically a writer, and I would like to be remembered, if I am remembered, because of my writing and because of my work. On the other hand, I am also a citizen, and I have political ideas, which I think is a moral obligation of everybody, not only of writers," he said, adding, "I don't know if these ideas impregnate, really, my literary work. That is difficult for me to say. When I write literature, I think politics, political ideas, ideology, is always secondary. I think literature [embraces] a larger horizon of human experience."

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.

    More Americas News

    Canada Ending Airstrikes in Iraq, Syria

    Canadian PM Trudeau said a campaign of airstrikes is useful for bringing short-term gains, but not for long-term stability

    Cuban Baseball Stars, the Gurriel Brothers, Abandon Team

    A record 150 baseball players defected last year; Gurriels deemed exceptional loss because of skill, fame and perceived loyalty

    Colombia: Rebels Must Free Hostages Before Any Peace Talks

    National Liberation Army (ELN) has been holding civilian Ramon Jose Cabrales, of eastern Norte de Santander province, for five months

    Canada to End Bombing Missions in Iraq, Syria

    Public opinion polls show Canadians are sharply divided over the role of their country's military in the fight against Islamic State

    USOC: US Athletes Should Stay Home if Worried About Zika

    US Olympic Committee tells sports federations that athletes and staff concerned for their health over virus should consider not going to Rio Games

    Haiti's President Leaves Office Without a Successor

    Embattled Haitian President Michel Martelly left office Sunday as required by Haiti's constitution, ending his 5-year term with no one elected to replace him