Peruvian novelist born in Arequipa, Peru, in 1936. In his early years, Mario Vargas Llosa worked as a journalist for various periodicals in Lima and Piura, and published several works of short fiction in newspapers such as El Comercio. and graduated from the Universidad de San Marcos after studying literature and law. Afterwards he entered into a relationship with his aunt (only by marriage, we are quick to note) Julia Urquidi, whom he married in 1955. In 1977, he wrote an autobiographical novel about their relationship called Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter.
The couple arrived in Spain in 1958 in search of more stimulating ground for his career as a writer. A year later, he moved to Paris, where he remained for six years. In 1965, he married his cousin Patricia Llosa in Lima, before setting off again for Europe.
Vargas Llosa spent the next 25 years in Europe between London, Barcelona, and Paris. He wrote The Green House in 1966, about a bordel in Piura. In 1969, Conversation in the Cathedral, about the dictatorship of Manuel Odría. was published.
Vargas Llosa unsuccessfully campaigned for the presidency of Peru in 1990 against Alberto Fujimori. "With the help of the Peruvian electorate,"¹ he was able to return to Europe and dedicate himself entirely to writing, becoming a Spanish citizen in 1993 and a member of the Real Academia Española in 1996.
Among his most acclaimed works are The War of the End of the World, The City and the Dogs, and the more recent The Feast of the Goat. Vargas Llosa's work deals mainly with traditional 20th-century Latin American themes such as oppression, poverty, and class. He was greatly influenced (and forms a small part of) the Latin American "Boom" literature of the 1950s and 1960s. He favors the work of Gabriel García Márquez, Jorge Luís Borges, and William Faulkner, among others.
1. I actually heard him say this. It was during a question-and-answer session at the 92nd St. Y in New York.