Book world unites to salute 'speaker of truth and power'
Friday 08 October 2010
The literary world was united in praise yesterday for Mario Vargas Llosa, the first South American winner of the Nobel literature prize since the Colombian Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 1982.
The Swedish Academy said it honoured the Peruvian author for mapping the "structures of power and [for] his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt and defeat".
Its permanent secretary, Peter Englund, called him "a divinely gifted storyteller".
The writer was told he had won the prize by telephone in New York, where he is teaching at Princeton University. "I am very surprised, I did not expect this," he told Spanish radio. "It had been years since my name was even mentioned."
Garcia Marquez, a former friend with whom Vargas Llosa had recently made peace after a feud in the Seventies, apparently tweeted: "cuentas iguales" ["now we're even" in Spanish].
John Freeman, editor of Granta, said: "In literary terms it's fantastic... Vargas Llosa's speaking of truth to power and the way that he seriously investigates the manner in which military dictatorships work... is singular."
Fellow Nobel laureate and Princeton faculty member Toni Morrison praised his selection as a "brilliant choice".
Jonathan Galassi, head of Vargas Llosa's US publisher, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, called him "one of the world's greatest writers – an eloquent, unequalled champion of human freedom".
* Mario Vargas Llosa was born on 28 March 1936 in Arequipa, Peru, to middle-class parents.
* Aged 14, he attended a military academy in Lima.
Worked as a journalist before going to Spain to study literature.
* Became a leading figure in the 1960s Latin American literary boom.
* Essential novels: The Time of the Hero (1963); Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (1977); The War of the End of the World (1981); The Feast of the Goat (2000); The Bad Girl (2006).
Arts & Ents blogs
St Patrick’s Day 2014: The worst Irish accents in film history
Best films on Netflix: 32 movies that will put an end to your endless scrolling
Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on acting one-handed and why Jaime Lannister is really not so bad
Lord of the Flies is still a blueprint for savagery
Game of Thrones star Sibel Kekilli says she wants to see more male nudity in the show
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Ukip and Nigel Farage on course for remarkable victory in European elections
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex
- 3 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Q&A by Simon Calder: How far could it have travelled? Who was responsible and what would their plans be? And how can a plane just vanish?
- 4 California man Christopher Viatafa surrenders to police after googling own name and discovering himself listed as ‘most wanted’
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Viral Facebook links are profiting hackers