By Julie Bosman, The New York Times (October 7, 2010)
The Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, whose deeply political work vividly examines the perils of power and corruption in Latin America, won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday.
Announcing the award in Stockholm, the Swedish Academy praised Mr. Vargas Llosa “for his cartography of the structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat.”
Mr. Vargas Llosa, 74, is one of the most celebrated writers of the Spanish-speaking world, frequently mentioned with his contemporary Gabríel Garcia Márquez, who won the literature Nobel in 1982, the last South American to do so. He has written more than 30 novels, plays and essays, including “The Feast of the Goat” and “The War of the End of the World.”
In selecting Mr. Vargas Llosa, the Swedish Academy has once again made a choice that is infused with politics. In 1990, he ran for the presidency of Peru and has been an outspoken activist in his native country.
In an interview with The Times in 2002, Mr. Vargas Llosa said that it was the novelist’s obligation to question real life. “I don’t think there is a great fiction that is not an essential contradiction of the world as it is,” he said. “The Inquisition forbade the novel for 300 years in Latin America. I think they understood very well the seditious consequence that fiction can have on the human spirit.’”
Since 1901, 102 Nobel Prizes in literature have been awarded. The last American to win the prize was Toni Morrison, in 1993.
The awards ceremony is planned for Dec. 10 in Stockholm. As the winner, Mr. Vargas Llosa will receive 10 million kronor, or about $1.5 million.
Mr. Vargas Llosa is currently spending the semester teaching Latin American studies at Princeton University.