Mario Vargas Llosa elected to the French Academy

(Paris) Peruvian-Spanish writer Mario Vargas Llosa was elected to the French Academy on Thursday, despite being older than the statutes allow, at 85.

The winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature obtained in the first round 18 votes, against one for the director Frédéric Vignale, one white and two draws, the Academy said in a press release.

His candidacy had been retained by the Immortals while since 2010 precisely, it is necessary to be less than 75 years old to stand for this election. On the other hand, there is no rule as to nationality.

Mario Vargas Llosa has never published in French, although he speaks it fluently, having immigrated to Paris in 1959. He now lives in Madrid.

His work translated into French, mainly by Gallimard editions, is abundant, since The city and the dogs in 1966, until Wild times in 2021. He was the first foreign writer to enter the prestigious Pléiade collection during his lifetime, in 2016.

Born in Arequipa in the south of Peru on March 28, 1936, this middle-class child, after a passage at the Military Academy of Lima, intended for literary studies, in Lima then Madrid, and journalism.

His talent as a writer will make him one of the figures of the revelation to the world of Latin American literature in the 1960s, alongside the Colombian Gabriel García Márquez, the Argentinian Julio Cortázar or the Mexicans Carlos Fuentes and Juan. Rulfo.

He also had a political career, running for president in Peru in 1990. He affirmed controversial liberal views there.

The French Academy had not welcomed a Nobel laureate since François Mauriac, elected in 1933, recipient of the Swedish prize in 1952, and deceased in 1970.

Of the 40 seats of the institution designed as the guardian of the French language, five remain vacant, and the 35 others are occupied by 29 men and six women.

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