BORN: March 28, 1936, Arequipa, Peru
IDENTIFICATION: Peruvian writer best known for novels that often combine technical experimentation with an exploration of the harsh social realities of Latin America.
SIGNIFICANCE: Mario Vargas Llosa belongs to the first generation of Latin American novelists to capture fully the attention of an audience beyond their national borders. Known both for the quality and the quantity of his output, Vargas Llosa has produced some of the New Worlds most memorable fiction. This prolific writer is recognized as well for his foray into the world of politics: he became a prominent candidate in the 1990 Peruvian presidential election. After suffering a stunning loss in the electoral arena, he returned to writing. As the twenty-first century began, Vargas Llosa continued to be published widely and remained one of the most important figures of contemporary world literature.