Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa was born in 1936 in Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city.

During his childhood in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Piura, a city in the north of Peru, he believed that his father had died.

However, this was a lie told by his mother to conceal their tortuous separation.

The truth emerged when, in 1946, his father appeared unexpectedly to take him away from his mother’s parents, moving with him and his mother to Lima.

This revelation signified an abrupt change in Vargas Llosa’s life, from the pampered upbringing of a feminine environment to the hostile treatment of an authoritarian father.

The dominant presence of authoritarianism in both public and private spheres led Vargas Llosa to strongly condemn systems which, in one way or another, sought to inhibit individual initiative and restrict personal freedom.

His literary works, starting with The Time of the Hero (1963) – one of the key novels which pioneered the ‘Boom’ period in Latin American literature – reflect his loathing of arbitrary manifestations of power and the absence of law which enables the strongest to impose their will.

The inspiration for this novel was the time he spent between 1950 and 1951 in the Leoncio Prado Military Academy, where he was sent by his father to stifle his literary ambitions through military discipline.

However, Vargas Llosa managed to rebel against his paternal yoke, not only pursuing a writing career, but also marrying his maternal uncle’s sister-in-law Julia Urquidi, who was eleven years older than him and divorced.

He drew on these experiences to write his novel Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, published in 1977.

Beginning his literary career with The Time of the Hero in 1963, Mario Vargas Llosa was identified as a social critic and writer.

The novel won quite a number of literary awards in Europe.

The success was followed by two more novels, The Green House (1969) and Conversation in the Cathedral (1969).

After a gap of four years, Llosa published Captain Pantoja and the Special Service in 1973, a humorous story.

Another four years later came Llosa’s most internationally acclaimed work, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, which was an autobiographical account of his first marriage.

Before writing his first detective fiction, Who Killed Palomino Molera in 1986, Llosa wrote two overtly political novels entitled, War at the End of the World (1981) and The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta (1984).

Some more notable works of Mario Vargas Llosa include The Storyteller (1987), Elogio de la Madrastra(1988) also published in English as In Praise of the Stepmother (1990), Tale of a Sacrificial Llama (1994), written after Llosa experience in politics when he became a presidential candidate.

Since 1990 Vargas Llosa has published a fortnightly column in the Spanish daily newspaper El País, which is reprinted in different media sources all over the world.

In these, he states his opinion regarding the most important current political, social and cultural events.

He also teaches literature courses at American universities and writes literary essays.

Although Vargas Llosa began writing plays in the 1980s, it was not until 2005 that he decided to take to the stage himself to portray his characters.

Aitana Sánchez Gijón, the actress who accompanies him in this new adventure, has described him as a promising young actor.