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Vargas Llosa, and how to win a Nobel

By Tom Chatfield  

Much, it seems, to his own surprise, Mario Vargas Llosa has just become South America’s first Nobel laureate for literature since Colombia’s Gabriel García Márquez won in 1982. Llosa—whose work has been published in this magazine on several occasions—was born in Peru in 1936; he contested and narrowly lost the 1990 presidential election there, and became a Spanish citizen in 1993. The Nobel, according to a magnificently pithy press release on the Swedish Academy’s excellent website, was awarded “for his cartography of…

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