Mario Vargas Llosa Portrait
© Hartwig Klappert

Guest 2007, 2011.


Die Stadt und die Hunde
Reinbek, 1965
[Ü: Wolfgang A. Luchting]

Gespräch in der »Kathedrale«
Frankfurt a. M., 1984
[Ü: Wolfgang A. Luchting]

Tante Julia und der Kunstschreiber
Frankfurt a. M., 1985
[Ü: Heidrun Adler]

Die Welt des Juan Carols Onetti
Frankfurt/Main, 2009
[Ü: Angelica Ammar]

Der Traum des Kelten
Frankfurt/Main, 2011
[Ü: Angelica Ammar]

Mario Vargas Llosa [ Peru ]

Mario Vargas Llosa was born in Arequipa, Peru in 1936. He grew up in Bolivia, North Peru, and in Lima, where he studied Literature and Law before gaining a doctorate in Madrid. Together with Gabriel García Marquez, Julio Cortázar and Carlos Fuentes, the journalist and writer formed »the literary quartet of the Latin American Boom«. His first three novels, including his masterpiece »Conversación en la Catedral« (1969; Eng. »Conversation in the Cathedral«, 1975) were written in Europe. He returned to Peru in 1975, and got involved in politics in the 1980s. He lost to Alberto Fujimori in the presidential elections of 1990. Vargas Llosa is an ardent advocate for democracy and freedom, and a moral authority in the eyes of the public. A defender of the cause of Israel, he nevertheless criticizes current Israeli policy against the Palestinians. He teaches at several American and European universities, including Washington, Puerto Rico, London, Cambridge, Harvard, and Princeton, and became a Spanish citizen in 1993.
Vargas Llosa’s early novels are characterized by progressive literary forms and a precise polyphonic structure. In his effort to create the »total novel« he draws from the kaleidoscope of Peruvian society using fragments of historical and geographical descriptions, a diversity of plots and epochs, and the memories, experiences, dialogues and fantasies of different social classes. Reality appears as an artificial, fictional construct. His fiction is inspired by his own biography. Thus, his debut »La ciudad y los perros« (1962; Eng. »The City and the Dogs«, 1963) refers to his traumatic experiences at a cadet school, whereas »La tía Julia y el escribidor« (1977; Eng. »Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter«, 1983) remembers the young author's marriage to his aunt, who was 14 years his senior. A satirical tone and erotic depictions dominate his recent narrative works, which are less complex than earlier texts, and include political essays, literary reviews, speeches and memoirs. »Travesuras de la niña mala« (2006; Eng. »The Bad Girl«, 2007) portrays an obsessive love against the backdrop of the political developments in Lima, Paris, London and Tokyo in the last 50 years. The hero in his latest book »El sueño del celta« (2010; Eng. »The Dream of the Celt«) ponders the horrors of colonialism. Stylistically the novel combines journalism, elements of historical novels, and features of the narrative world of the author.
Vargas Llosa was President of the International PEN. He is a member of the Réal Academia Española and holds honorary doctorates from various American and European universities. »For his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat« Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010. Further distinctions include the Premio Cervantes, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Premio Ortega y Gasset and the PEN/Nabokov Award. The author lives in London, Paris, Madrid and Lima.

© internationales literaturfestival berlin