Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa has been a household name since the advent of the Latin American literary boom of the 1960s. Both Vargas Llosa and friend Gabriel Garcia Marquez have been the two authors at the forefront of literature from the Spanish-speaking world, writing books that define the genre. Colombian author Marquez, who is frequently mentioned alongside Vargas Llosa, shot to fame in the 1970s with 100 Years of Solitude and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1982. This morning, Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa joined Marquez as a 2010 Nobel Prize winner in Literature.
The accolade comes after a years-long rivalry between Marquez and Vargas Llosa. The two have had a complicated relationship, beginning as friends and ending as rivals following an argument in Mexico City’s Palacio de las Bellas Artes in 1976 that ended with Vargas Llosa giving Marquez a black eye. The two have not spoken since.
Today, Peru’s most famous storyteller finally matched his rival in achieving the highest honor for a writer. The Swedish Academy, who bestows the prestigious honor, said that Vargas Llosa was chosen as the recipient “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat.”
He rose to fame in Peru in 1965 with his novel The Time of the Hero, followed by his masterpiece, 1967’s The Green House, which brought him to the forefront of the Latin American literary boom. His 30-year career since then has included several other acclaimed novels, plays, essays and even a campaign for Peru’s presidency in 1990.
Vargas Llosa is the first Latin American author to win the Nobel Prize since Octavio Paz received it in 1990.