Mario Vargas Llosa at the FIL Buenos Aires: ‘Literature and governments operate in contradictory fields’

The writer Mario Vargas Llosa affirmed on Friday the 6th in Buenos Aires (Argentina) that he feels “fear” for a possible government intervention in literature, a situation that, in his opinion, would create “obstacles” for artistic creation.

“It inspires me a fear that governments intervene in the world of literature. Literature and governments operate in different and even contradictory fields”, stated the Nobel Prize winner during his participation in the Buenos Aires Book Fairwhere he appears as one of the most outstanding guests.

For the Peruvian author, who was greeted with loud applause upon entering the red pavilion of La Rural, the Fair’s venue, Latin American governments have traditionally shown a “great lack of interest” in literature, even in dictatorial periods, which favored the proliferation of talented writers during the so-called “boom” of the 1960s.

“Despite very authoritarian governments, often presided over by the military, censorship practically did not exist, we enjoy almost infinite freedom in this field,” said Vargas Llosa, adding that this freedom allowed the creation of “extraordinarily spectacular” literature. ”.

The novelist, who was recently admitted to a Madrid clinic for “some complications related” to COVID-19, also expressed his doubts regarding an eventual promotion of literature by Ibero-American states.

In his opinion, the different governments are “increasingly aware” of the literary “wealth” that exists both in Spain and in Latin America: “It will depend entirely on us to demand that our governments tolerate that literature, insolent, uncomfortable and difficult,” he stressed.

Spanish as “unity”

During his speech, the author of “The city and the dogs” praised the Spanish language as a factor of “unity” in the midst of the “diversity” that characterizes Ibero-American nations, which makes this language one of the “most important” and with the greatest projection in the world.

“I think that the greatest justification for what our reality is today is that extraordinary diversity of which we are participants and, of course, beneficiaries,” he said. Vargas Llosaclarifying that this diversity, in any case, was promoted by the “simplicity” of the language and not by any government in particular.

The Peruvian writer shared a discussion table with the Spanish Javier Fencesauthor of works such as ‘Soldados de Salamina’ or ‘El monarca de las sombras’, for whom the Latin American boom “changes the course of Western literature”, despite how “eclipsed” the Spanish language was “for centuries”.

“The Spanish language creates the modern novel, but then it disappears, it is one of the great paradoxes. It is the English and the French who understand Cervantes, but we Spaniards literally get out of hand”, lamented Cercas.

story contest

This first appearance of Mario Vargas Llosa on the Buenos Aires Book Fair It was produced on the occasion of the presentation of the “Mario Vargas Llosa” Ibero-American Short Story Biennial, an initiative promoted after an agreement between the Vargas Llosa Chair and the El Libro Foundation, organizer of the Fair.

This contest will serve to choose, through an open call, the best book of short stories published in the last two years in Spanish, an award that will be presented in the next edition of the Book Fair.

For the Peruvian Nobel, this award seeks to “make life easier” for young people with a literary vocation, who want to write but don’t really know where to start: “We are convinced that literature is important and builds bridges between countries ”, he sentenced.

Following the announcement of this award, Vargas Llosa He will talk about the “new Ibero-American novel” with the Argentinian Alejandro Roemmers and will culminate his participation in the Book Fair next Sunday, when he will present his latest essay, ‘The quiet gaze’ (Alfaguara).

(With information from EFE)


my favorite novel“: The great works of classical literature with the comments of Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa. An RPP production for all Spanish-speaking listeners.

“The Phantom of the Opera” (1910) is the most famous of his novels, a subtle and refined love story that borders on terror, without falling into truculence or unreality. A true classic that has seen many versions in cinema, theater and musicals.


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