September 26 , 2005
Peruvian novelist Vargas Llosa
announced as 2006 speaker
By Michael Terrazas
Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, whose career has
ranged from fiction to criticism to even a stint in politics, will
deliver the 2006 Richard A. Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature,
April 2–4, 2006, series director Ron Schuchard announced.
Vargas Llosa is one of the leading figures of the Latin
American literary world. He is the author of more than three dozen
books, plays and other works,
and has been awarded numerous honors over his career, including the National
Critics’ Prize (1967), the Peruvian National Prize (1967) and the Miguel
Cervantes Prize (1994). His most recent novel, The Way to Paradise, was published
in the U.S. by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2003.
“He clearly gives the Ellmann Lectures an international scope,” said
Schuchard, Goodrich C. White Professor of English, who directs the lecture series
named for the late literary scholar and Emory Woodruff Professor Richard Ellmann.
The biennial lectures last were delivered in fall 2004 by novelist Salman Rushdie.
“We’ve had Irish, English, American and Indian writers with Rushdie,” Schuchard
said, “and now [the series will] have the Peruvian novelist Llosa, who
really is a world-class figure and has a great world following. He is very actively
involved in modern literature as a novelist, a playwright, an essayist, a literary
critic and also a political figure.”
In 1990, Vargas Llosa ran for his country’s presidency
against Alberto Fujimori, a Peruvian engineer of Japanese descent.
Vargas Llosa lost, though
10 years later his opponent fled Peru in disgrace following a corruption
Vargas Llosa was born in Arequipa, Peru, in 1936. He
studied literature and law at the University of San Marcos in Lima
from 1955–57 before attending graduate
school in Spain at the University of Madrid, where he received his Ph.D.
in 1959. He wrote his dissertation on his soon-to-be Colombian literary
García Marquéz, and his first collection of short stories,
Los Jefes, appeared the same year he received his doctorate.
Vargas Llosa’s first novel, The Time of the Hero,
was published three years later to instant acclaim. He went on to
write The Green House (1966), The War
of the End of the World (1981) and The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta (1984),
among other works.
“Many people [in this country] have not read him,” Schuchard said, “but
he’s really quite an extraordinary man of letters. He has the background,
as a literary critic and journalist and very productive novelist, playwright,
man of many genres, to step out of his writing and address something that will
be of great interest to the Emory audience.”
Schuchard said he is encouraging faculty to incorporate
Llosa into reading lists for their classes this semester and next,
will try to market
Ellmann Lectures to the wider Latin American community in Atlanta.
“This is a rare opportunity,” he said.