Spanish-Peruvian Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa launched a short story contest Friday at the Feria del Libro de Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires Book Fair), which he attended two weeks after overcoming a hospitalisation for Covid-19 related complications.
Looking in good health, though walking with a cane, the esteemed writer said he would sponsor the award with his Vargas Llosa Chair, which seeks to “facilitate the lives of young people who have a literary vocation and always have many doubts when it comes to start writing.”
The first edition of the award will be presented in a year’s time at the next Feria del Libro, announced the event's organisers.
“We are convinced that literature is necessary. It builds bridges and seeks a perfection that we do not find in life. And it is also a protest, it shows the deficiencies of a society, it cries out against them,” said the Nobel laureate, accompanied by Spanish writer Javier Cercas.
Vargas Llosa, author of La ciudad y los perros (titled in English “The Time of the Hero”), Conversación en la catedral (“Conversation in the Cathedral”), La historia de Mayta (titled in English “The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta”) and El sueño del celta (“The Dream of the Celt”) praised the richness of the Spanish language and its ability to unite diverse realities in his speech.
Spanish “is today one of the richest and most diverse languages, and has won beachheads in various parts of the world,” he said. “This common language creates a bond between us that goes beyond literature,” he assured.
Vargas Llosa, 86, presented his latest work, La mirada quieta (“The Still Gaze”), about Benito Pérez Galdós on Sunday.
On Monday in the city of Rosario, he will participate in a dinner organised by Fundación Libertad together with former right-wing president Mauricio Macri and other political leaders from Argentina's opposition.
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010, Vargas Llosa is the last living representative of the Latin American boom.
His prolific literary career began with the short story collection Los jefes (titled in English “The Cubs and Other Stories”) in 1958. Since then he has written dozens of novels, short stories, a volume of memoirs, essays, plays, books of poetry and newspaper articles, which he still publishes regularly in the Spanish publication El País.