Peruvian-born novelist and essayist, Mario Vargas Llosa will receive the “Living Legend Award” from the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. on April 11.
In 2010, Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, topping off a career that helped kick-start a worldwide explosion in South American literature in the 1960s and 70s.
The author is best-known for such politically charged novels such as “The Feast of the Goat” and “The War of the End of the World.”
At one point Vargas Llosa launched a failed presidential bid and historically maintained an ongoing fuel with Nobel laureate, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
"Mario Vargas Llosa has brought to life the history and character of the Latin American people in memorable literature that has been translated into many languages around the world," said Acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao. "The Library of Congress is proud to honor him and his work."
Born in 1936, in Arequipa, he began his career working as a crime reporter for the Lima newspaper, La Cronica at the age of 15.
At 19, he eloped with his aunt by marriage, Julia Urquidi, 32. He moved to Paris in 1959, then later to London and Barcelona, working as a Spanish teacher, broadcaster and journalist in various universities in Europe.
He returned to Peru in 1975.
A prolific writer, his novels, short stories and plays fortified his literary standing and eventually led to his turn in politics. He hosted a Peruvian talk show, and in 1987 he led protests against a plan to nationalize the Peruvian financial system, leading to a presidential bid.
"The Feast of the Goat" (2002) is viewed widely as a tour de force; it offers a profile of Rafael L Trujillo Molina, who ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1961. The novel surrounds Trujillo’s efforts to have sex with the 14-year-old daughter of his chief minister, and his assassination two weeks later.
He has described it as a "realist treatment of a human being who became a monster", adding that he is distrustful of "the idea that you can build a paradise here in history. That idea of a perfect society lies behind monsters like the Taliban. When you want paradise you produce first extraordinary idealism. But at some time, you produce hell."
The Library of Congress award ceremony is open to the public.