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Tenth Nobel Prize Winner

Posted on 12/10/2010
Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa, one of Latin America’s most significant novelists and leading author of his generation, a former member of staff and Honorary Fellow of the College, has been awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in literature.

Mario Vargas Llosa was Lecturer in Spanish American Literature in the Department of Spanish & Spanish-American Studies at King’s College London from 1969-1970, just before he decided to become a full-time writer. He was made an Honorary Fellow of King’s College London in July 2005. He is the first South American winner of the 10 million kronor prize since 1982 when it was awarded to Colombian Gabriel García Márquez.

A prolific novelist, playwright and essayist, the 74-year old is best known for works such as The Time of the Hero (La ciudad y los perros), The Green House (La casa verde), and the monumental Conversation in the Cathedral (Conversación en la catedral). His novels include comedies, murder mysteries, historical novels, and political thrillers. Several, such as Captain Pantoja and the Special Service and Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, have been adapted as feature films.

He is also a literary critic of great importance, having published still fundamental studies of Gabriel García Márquez, Gustave Flaubert, and the 15th century Valencian chivalresque novel Tirant lo Blanc.

While his works are influenced by the writer’s perception of Peruvian society and his own experiences as a native Peruvian, his vast knowledge of world literature is always evident in his writing. He has been the recipient of many literary prizes and numerous honours including membership of the Real Academia Española.

He is also well known for his profile as a politician, and ran for the Peruvian presidency in 1990 with the centre-right Frente Democrático (FREDEMO) coalition, advocating neoliberal reforms.

Paying tribute to Mario Vargas Llosa, Dr Elisa Sampson Vera Tudela in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at King’s says: ‘Over his long trajectory as a writer, Mario Vargas Llosa has shown an incredible versatility and willingness to take risks in his novels. The Nobel Committee has recognised this amazing formal creativity as well as Vargas Llosa’s commitment to a public and political role for the writer in society – this is a very good day for Latin American letters.’ 

He is the tenth person closely associated with King's to have won the Nobel Prize.

Notes to editors


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