Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa in Manhattan

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Mario Vargas Llosa in conversation with the leading Mario Vargas Llosa expert (Photo: Zygmunt Malinowski)

My favorite Polish photographer, Zygmunt Malinowski, sent me his photo of the November 7  evening with Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa and John King, who is co-editor, with Efraín Kristal, of The Cambridge Companion to Mario Vargas Llosa and translator of several volumes of his essays.  And isn’t that room gorgeous? It’s the Americas Society in Manhattan. And don’t we all wish we lived in Manhattan?  Except for the weather … and the traffic… and the noise…

Vargas Llosa has also been awarded the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world’s most distinguished literary honor; the Jerusalem Prize; and, most recently, the Carlos Fuentes Prize, among many other honors. His most recent novel is 2010’s El sueño del celta [The Dream of the Celt].  Vargas Llosa expert John King is on the faculty of the University of Warwick.

Zygmunt wrote in his email: “Having been to Peru several times on expeditions, I can say that Vargas Llosa captures that mysterious and fantastic Andean country like no other writer. He also publicly supported Solidarity back when that support meant so much.By the way, one of the questions after the discussion was: what are his thoughts regarding modern media (e-books, tablets) versus printed material – that is, books for the future, in about 10 or 20 years? His answer was that he hoped both would co-exist and that television/media is great for information and entertainment, but according to him, it was not capable of producing great art (such as War and Piece, Don Quixote, Ulysses). His concern was that ‘literature written exclusively for tablets may produce the kind of cultural objects that television produces’ and, if so, ‘literature would be impoverished.'”


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