Arequipa, Perú, 1936

Mario Vargas Llosa is one of the most important and outstanding contemporary authors writing in  Spanish. He studied Literature and Law in Peru and obtained his Doctorate in Philosophy and Literature in Madrid. He later lived in Paris, London and Barcelona, contributing to several periodicals and teaching literature. With La ciudad y los perros, the novel that, in 1963, won the Premio Biblioteca Breve and the Premio de la Crítica, he achieved international recognition and became one of the most important representatives of the so-called boom in Latin American fiction. In parallel, he had a controversial political career, which culminated when he was a candidate for President of Peru in the 1990 elections. His extensive body of literary work, which is characterised by technical experimentation and the innovation of stylistic and narrative possibilities, is one of the most solid and complete of the writers of his generation. He has been awarded innumerable prizes, the most noteworthy of which were the Premio Príncipe de Asturias in 1986, the Premio Cervantes in 1994 and the Nobel prize for Literatura in 2010. In 2023 he has been elected member of the Académie Française.

  • "These pages make clear the extraordinary way in which Mario Vargas Llosa masters the mysteries of fiction and the art of the novel, with an ending that is as surprising as it is marvellous, because it is so unexpected." Fernando R. Lafuente (referring to El héroe discreto)
  • "You must read El pez en el agua, a key book in his bibliography, which contains the substance of what the jury that awarded the Nobel Prize said: the Vargas Llosa who looks at power from within or from its shores, and the one who remains amazed and terrified by some of the most remarkable elements of his childhood and youth." Juan Cruz, El País
  • "Vargas Llosa has represented the insurmountable Peruvian reality, and in some of his rebellious characters one glimpses the seed of Revolutionary action." Mario Benedetti
  • “Mario Vargas Llosa’s writing has shaped our image of South America and has its own chapter in the history of contemporary literature. In his early years, he was a renewer of the novel; today, an epic poet.” Per Wästberg, Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Literature


Mario Vargas Llosa's latest novel. A mystery that captures the contradictions of a whole country.

Toño Azpilcueta breathes and lives for Creole music and he is unquestionably its greatest authority and collector in Peru. But instead of this finding him a place among the Lima intelligentsia, he is only able to contribute with his vast knowledge to trashy magazines that pay him a pittance.

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The exceptional correspondence between four great writers who were also great friends and allies. An invaluable testament to an incomparable epoch and generation.

Written between 1955 and 2012, the 207 letters in this book reproduce the friendship that was built up between four of the greatest boom writers, from different countries and each with his own narrative project.

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Short stories and novellas

Biography / Memoirs


Mario Vargas Llosa's latest novel. A mystery that captures the contradictions of a whole country.

Toño Azpilcueta breathes and lives for Creole music and he is unquestionably its greatest authority and collector in Peru. But instead of this finding him a place among the Lima intelligentsia, he is only able to contribute with his vast knowledge to trashy magazines that pay him a pittance.

One night Toño attends a soirée to listen to a guitarist he has never heard of. His name is Lalo Molfino and, as soon as the first chords sound, Toño realizes that he is listening to someone of astonishing talent. In his write-up, he predicts a successful career for Lalo Molfino, but some time later he finds out that the musician has died in the Hospital Obrero in complete anonymity. How could the greatest guitarist in the history of Peru become destitute? Who was Lalo Molfino? Why doesn't anyone seem to remember his name or his music?

Toño embarks on a journey into the heart of Peru, determined to write a book about Lalo Molfino that he also hopes will be a great book about the culture of his country in the light of Creole music. The music that emerged in the poorest back streets of Lima and worked the miracle of uniting, perhaps for the first time, all Peruvians under the same sky.

‘Endowed with legendary discipline and brutal talent, Mario Vargas Llosa has created an immense tableau of life in Peru and its contradictions, a critical portrayal of society, but above all, a literary universe unparalleled in our language.’ Lectura, El Mundo

‘With his intact sense of narrative rhythm, impeccable rigor in handling data and references derived from overwhelming research, and the skillful simplicity of his dialogue, [...] his dissident writing shatters the world as he had read that heroes did in chivalric novels. Returning to his roots, he charges and accounts for a timeless insurrection against man and the world.’ El Periódico 

‘The novel is permeated by a charming sentimental air and exhales melancholy. It is elegant and heartfelt, characteristic of an author who relives his life experiences because he knows that time is catching up with him.’ Letra Global, El Español

‘That's where the greatness of this story lies, in which Vargas Llosa puts all his expertise and his ample intelligence at the service of a good tale. Azpilcueta is also a modern Don Quixote, a wandering knight who raises a brand-new discourse against the world and the lack of imagination.’ Zenda Libros

‘The great literary quality of Vargas Llosa makes it easy for an entertaining narrative, outside the dogmas of current events, to be filled with necessary inquiries about culture, history, identity, loneliness, empire, the Spanish language, garbage, and everyone's loves.’ El País 

Vargas Llosa alternates chapters that reproduce passages from that work in progress with the investigations and adventures of Azpilcueta, combining narration and essay and achieving the rare balance of making us interested in both the evolution of the Peruvian waltz and the plot that revolves around the folklorist.’ Babelia, El País 

‘This huachafo* novel contributes to Vargas Llosa's significant exploration: to dissect that human drama, a source of dissatisfaction, tragic and vain feats, glorious and huachafo visions, which arises when imperfect beings believe they have found the keys to perfection. *Huachafería is an expressive mode that is close to cheesiness but is much more: a very Peruvian way of seeing and being in the world, a way of facing existence in which feeling predominates over reason and whose best expression is found, precisely, in the Creole waltz.’ Letras libres 



2021 - Prix André Malraux 'Fiction engagée' 

The true story of Guatemala’s political turmoil of the 1950s as only a master of fiction can tell it

Guatemala, 1954. The military coup perpetrated by Carlos Castillo Armas and supported by the CIA topples the government of Jacobo Árbenz. Behind this violent act is a lie passed off as truth, which forever changes the development of Latin America: the accusation by the Eisenhower administration that Árbenz encouraged the spread of Soviet Communism in the Americas. Harsh Times is a story of international conspiracies and conflicting interests in the time of the Cold War, the echoes of which are still felt today.

In this thrilling novel, Mario Vargas Llosa fuses reality with two fictions: that of the narrator, who freely re-creates characters and situations, and the one designed by those who would control the politics and the economy of a continent by manipulating its history.

Harsh Times is a gripping, revealing novel that directly confronts recent history. No one is better suited to tell this riveting story than Vargas Llosa, and there is no form better for it than his deeply textured fiction. Not since The Feast of the Goat, his classic novel of the downfall of Trujillo’s regime in the Dominican Republic, has Vargas Llosa combined politics, characters, and suspense so unforgettably.

“The author shows greater mastery, if that’s possible, than in La Fiesta del Chivo and the novel is a prodigious mechanism that invites the readers to let themselves be carried away amidst the suspense and sense of fate, just as history carries us all away, perpetrators, witnesses and victims.” José-Carlos Mainer, Babelia, El País

"Par cette orgie politique sur fond de coups d’Etat, Mario VARGAS LLOSA, grâce à une mécanique d’écriture implacable perdant sans cesse le lecteur dans un dédale de trahisons, d’intrigues et de complots, nous offre, une nouvelle fois, la démonstration de son génie littéraire." Prix André Malraux Fiction engagée (France, 2021)

"Vargas Llosa has constructed a compelling and propulsive literary thriller, deeply informed by his experience as a public intellectual and a practicing politician." Hari Kunzru, The New York Times

"History here gets a compelling human face through an artist’s dramatic brilliance.” Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Tiempos recios brings back a vigorous narrator and intellectual who shows an exemplary commitment to the great human cause of justice and freedom. […] As in every good historical novel, documented reality goes hand in hand with fiction and the events are supported by solid human stories.” Santos Sanz Villanueva, El Cultural, El Mundo

“Den Roman Harte Jahre, so glaubhaft und so wahr wie die sogenannte Historie.” Der Spiegel

“Avec ce roman d’espionnage, de politique et de désir, Super Mario frappe un grand coup, jonglant avec les époques et les figures de sa comédie (in)humaine latina, dont certaines, flamboyant d’une lumière noire, figuraient déjà dans sonchef-d’oeuvre La Fête au bouc.Le Point

"Classic Vargas Llosa . . . An unsettling reminder of the complicated relationship between storytelling and politics." Booklist (Starred Review)

“Diese Geschichte erzählt Geschichte. Das ist lehrreich, das ist spannend, das ist immer noch empörend. Mario Vargas Llosa macht es möglich.”  Martin Oehlen, Frankfurter Rundschau

“Mario Vargas Llosa gibt in Harte Jahre Einblicke in das politische Flechtwerk Mittelamerikas. Der Roman ... ist zugleich Dokumentation und Thesenroman: voller Spannung und sinnlich erzählt.” Katharina Döbler, Deutschlandfunk Kultur

“Fiction and reality are interwoven in this thrilling, hypnotic novel.” Alfredo Urdaci, Fan Fan 

 “Tiempos recios, a return to the best of Mario Vargas Llosa. The twenty-first novel by the Peruvian Nobel Prize for Literature retrieves his literary obsessions: political conspiracy, the resistance of the individual and a deep examination of power.” RPPNoticias

“Le roman du prix Nobel se lit comme un livre d’espionnage. Passionnant.” Femme Actuelle

A rich businessman, Enrique Cárdenas, is a victim of blackmail by a famous tabloid editor. When he refuses to pay, photos are published of Cárdenas participating in an orgy with prostitutes and drugs, unleashing a scandal that makes the covers of all the gossip magazines and places him in the line of fire of damning Lima society gossip. The situation becomes even more hellish for Cárdenas when he is accused of a murder occurring in Cinco Esquinas, one of Lima’s most poverty-stricken neighbourhoods. He is innocent, and in all of Peru there is only one woman capable of taking down the true culprit. A cynical journalist of doubtful morals, who has spent her career slandering and inventing scandals about the adversaries of Alberto Fujimori’s government in order to publicly ruin their reputations, finds the opportunity to redeem herself by honouring the true mission of her profession for the first time in her life.

This new novel by Mario Vargas Llosa brings together the detective, thriller and comedy of intrigue genres, with highly erotic undertones. In addition to providing a live mural of Peruvian society during the violent years of the Fujimori dictatorship, it proposes an indispensable reminder of “how journalism, which can be something vile and dirty, can suddenly become an instrument of liberation, of moral and civic defence of a society.”

“[A] trail of family scandals, tabloid exposés, blackmail and subterfuge. . . a dish of revenge eaten cold. . . its flavours, if occasionally crude, taste strong enough to satisfy those readers who will treat the novel’s closely-observed Peru as a land of myth. . . Vargas Llosa has ingeniously deployed the erotic intrigues, high-society secrets, and pot-boiling plot twists of the Latin American telenovela. . .  [The Neighborhood] pulses along with a zest and cunning not commonly found among octogenarian Nobel laureates.Boyd Tonkin, Financial Times

“A busy fresco of betrayal and retribution.”  The Guardian

“An unforgettable picture of how art and ideas are treated by totalitarians.The Herald

“With its blend of documentary sources and invention, The Neighborhood is Peruvian pulp fiction of rare, exaggerated nastiness and the darkest satire.” Evening Standard 

“A devastating criticism of the hypocritical Peruvian bourgeoisie of the Fujimori years.” Jesús Ferrer, La Razón

“La Retaquita is the best character in Cinco esquinas, and a true Lisbeth Salander of the developing world.” Sergio Vila-Sanjuán, La Vanguardia

“Everything is masterful in this novel reflecting the malicious wisdom of a veteran writer and the new, inexhaustible creativity that dazzled us over half a century ago.” José-Carlos Mainer, El País-Babelia

 “The Nobel Prize winner’s most powerful writing is back in a novel where the Peruvian author lets himself go with overwhelming vitality, humour, scenes of delicious erotic happiness, and a relentless condemnation of political and journalistic corruption.” J.A. Masoliver Ródenas, La Vanguardia-Culturas


A tale of two cities―Piura and Lima―rocked by scandal, and the disintegrating bonds of loyalty between the generations

The novel follows two fascinating characters whose lives are destined to intersect: neat, endearing Felícito Yanaqué, a small businessman in Piura, Peru, who finds himself the victim of blackmail; and Ismael Carrera, a successful owner of an insurance company in Lima, who cooks up a plan to avenge himself against the two lazy sons who want him dead. Felícito and Ismael are, each in his own way, quiet, discreet rebels: honorable men trying to seize control of their destinies in a social and political climate where all can seem set in stone, predetermined. They are hardly vigilantes, but each is determined to live according to his own personal ideals and desires―which means forcibly rising above the pettiness of their surroundings. The Discreet Hero is also a chance to revisit some of our favorite players from previous Vargas Llosa novels: Sergeant Lituma, Don Rigoberto, Doña Lucrecia, and Fonchito are all here in a prosperous Peru.

Vargas Llosa sketches Piura and Lima vividly―and the cities become not merely physical spaces but realms of the imagination populated by his vivid characters.

As The Dream of the Celt opens, it is the summer of 1916 and Roger Casement awaits the hangman in London's Pentonville Prison. Dublin lies in ruins after the disastrous Easter Rising led by his comrades of the Irish Volunteers. He has been caught after landing from a German submarine. For the past year he has attempted to raise an Irish brigade from prisoners of war to fight alongside the Germans against the British Empire that awarded him a knighthood only a few years before. And now his petition for clemency is threatened by the leaking of his private diary and his secret life as a gay man ....

Vargas Llosa, with his incomparable gift for powerful historical narrative, takes the reader on a journey back through a remarkable life dedicated to the exposure of barbaric treatment of indigenous peoples by European predators in the Congo and Amazonia. Casement was feted as one of the greatest humanitarians of the age. Now he is about to die ignominiously as a traitor.

Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a teenager known as "Lily" in Lima in 1950, when she flits into his life one summer and disappears again without explanation. He loves her still when she reappears as a revolutionary in 1960s Paris, then later as Mrs. Richardson, the wife of a wealthy Englishman, and again as the mistress of a sinister Japanese businessman in Tokyo. However poorly she treats him, he is doomed to worship her.

Charting Ricardo's expatriate life through his romances with this shape-shifting woman, Vargas Llosa has created a beguiling, epic romance about the life-altering power of obsession.

Flora Tristán, the illegitimate child of a wealthy Peruvian father and French mother, grows up in poverty and journeys to Peru to demand her inheritance. On her return in 1844, she makes her name as a champion of the downtrodden, touring the French countryside to recruit members for her Workers' Union.In 1891, Flora's grandson, struggling painter and stubborn visionary Paul Gauguin, abandons his wife and five children for life in the South Seas, where his dreams of paradise are poisoned by syphilis, the stifling forces of French colonialism, and a chronic lack of funds, though he has his pick of teenage Tahitian lovers and paints some of his greatest works. Flora died before her grandson was born, but their travels and obsessions unfold side by side in this double portrait, a rare study in passion and ambition, as well as the obstinate pursuit of greatness in the face of illness and death.

Haunted all her life by feelings of terror and emptiness, forty-nine-year-old Urania Cabral returns to her native Dominican Republic, and finds herself reliving the events of l961, when the capital was still called Trujillo City and one old man terrorized a nation of three million. Rafael Trujillo, the depraved ailing dictator whom Dominicans call the Goat, controls his inner circle with a combination of violence and blackmail. In Trujillo's gaudy palace, treachery and cowardice have become a way of life. But Trujillo's grasp is slipping. There is a conspiracy against him, and a Machiavellian revolution already underway that will have bloody consequences of its own.

In this masterpiece of Latin American and world literature, Mario Vargas Llosa recounts the end of a regime and the birth of a terrible democracy, giving voice to the historical Trujillo and the victims, both innocent and complicit, drawn into his deadly orbit.

“Mario Vargas Llosa has returned to the historical novel with the artistry accumulated over the course of what is now an extensive literary journey. The result is a splendid book, one of the best his undeniable talent has produced.” Joaquín Marco, El Cultural

“Dr Vargas Llosa has written much more than the story of an assassination [...]. This is a triumphant return to his best literature.” Javier Aparicio, El Periódico

“This novel will trap anyone who falls into its clutches. The narrative feast organised by the author invites one to remain sleepless until the final lament of last hope [...]. Once again, we can enjoy a torrential talent, one that is poured into the voices and events of a book full of moral uncertainties.” Andrés Magro, Diario 16

“Not only does Vargas Llosa bring back the tradition of the dictator novel, rooted in Valle-Inclán’s esperpentic Tyrant Banderas, but he returns to what many regard as his best period as a writer, when he produced complex, broadly developed novels. This began with The Time of the Hero and ended with The War of the End of the World.” J. A. Masoliver Ródenas, La Vanguardia



"Exuberant . . . a roguish and sophisticated sex comedy." Time

Set in Lima, the novel tells of a love triangle: Don Rigoberto himself, by day a gray insurance executive, by night a pornographer and sexual enthusiast; his second wife, Lucrecia; and his young son, Alfonso. Husband and wife are estranged because of a sexual encounter between Lucrecia and the boy, a fey, angelic creature who may have seduced her (rather than the other way around). Missing Lucrecia terribly, Rigoberto fills his notebooks with memories, fantasies, and unsent letters; meanwhile the boy visits Lucrecia, determined to regain her favor and win her love. The resulting novel, an intoxicating mix of reality and fantasy, is sexy, funny, disquieting, and unfailingly compelling. 

In a remote Andean village, three men have disappeared. Peruvian Army corporal Lituma and his deputy Tomas have been dispatched to investigate, and to guard the town from the Shining Path guerrillas they assume are responsible. But the townspeople do not trust the officers, and they have their own ideas about what forces claimed the bodies of the missing men. To pass the time, and to cope with their homesickness, Tomas entertains Lituma nightly with the sensuous, surreal tale of his precarious love affair with a wayward prostitute. His stories are intermingled with the ongoing mystery of the missing men.

Death in the Andes is an atmospheric suspense story and a political allegory, a panoramic view of contemporary Peru.

In Praise of the Stepmother is the story of Don Rigoberto, his second wife, Lucrecia, and his son, Alfonso. Their family life together seems to be a happy one. Rigoberto, an insurance company manager, spends his time preening himself for his wife and collecting erotic art. But while Lucrecia is devoted to him, she has her own needs, and soon finds herself the object of young Alfonso's attention.

With meticulous observation and seductive skill, Mario Vargas Llosa explores the mysterious nature of happiness. Little by little, the harmony of his characters is darkened by the shadow of perversion.

At a small gallery in Florence, a Peruvian writer comes across a photograph of a tribal storyteller deep in the Amazon jungle. As he stares at the photograph, it dawns on him that he knows this man. The storyteller is not an Indian at all but his university classmate, Saul Zuratas, who was thought to have disappeared in Israel. As recollections of Zuratas flow through his mind, the writer begins to imagine Zuratas' transformation into a member of the Machiguenga tribe.

In The Storyteller, Mario Vargas Llosa has created a spellbinding tale of one man's journey from the modern world to our origins.

Peru, 1950s. A young airman is found brutally murdered near an Air Force base in the northern desert. Lieutenant Silva and Officer Lituma set out to investigate, hitching rides on chicken trucks and cajoling a cab driver into taking them to the crime scene. Without support from their superiors and with the base's commanding officer standing in their way, the case won't be easy. But they are determined to uncover the truth.

Who Killed Palomino Molero? is an entertaining and brilliantly plotted detective novel. It takes up one of Mario Vargas Llosa's characteristic themes –how hard it is to be an honest man in a corrupt society.

The Peru of the near future is in the throes of an insurgency. A revolutionary army is taking on the failing government and the US Marines, and the cities have become vast garbage-strewn slums. In the midst of this, the narrator attempts to reconstruct the story of his friend, a modern revolutionary.

In The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta, Mario Vargas Llosa offers not just a brilliant psychological portrait, but also a searing account of Latin America's political scene.

Deep within the remote backlands of nineteenth-century Brazil lies Canudos, home to all the damned of the earth: prostitutes, bandits, beggars, and every kind of outcast. It is a place where history and civilization have been wiped away. There is no money, no taxation, no marriage, no census. Canudos is a cauldron for the revolutionary spirit in its purest form, a state with all the potential for a true, libertarian paradise –and one the Brazilian government is determined to crush at any cost.

Mario Vargas Llosa tells his own version of the real story of Canudos, inhabiting characters on both sides of the massive, cataclysmic battle between the society and government troops. The resulting novel is a fable of Latin American revolutionary history, an unforgettable story of passion, violence, and the devastation that follows from fanaticism.

Set in Peru during the 1950s, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter is the story of an 18 year old student who falls for a 32 year old divorcee. Mario, an aspiring writer, works at a radio station that broadcasts, live each day, up to a half-dozen short-run soap operas. At the same time that the author meets his "Aunt Julia", the radio station, which had been buying scripts by weight from Cuba, hires a Bolivian scriptwriter named Pedro Camacho to write the serials. The novel chronicles the scriptwriter's rise and fall in tandem with the protagonist's affair.

This delightful farce opens as the prim and proper Captain Pantoja learns he is to be sent to Peru’s Amazon frontier on a secret mission for the army—to provide females for the amorous recruits. Side-splitting complications arise as world of Captain Pantoja's remarkable achievements start to spread.

A haunting tale of power, corruption, and the complex search for identity

Conversation in The Cathedral takes place in 1950s Peru during the dictatorship of Manuel A. Odria. Over beers and a sea of freely spoken words, the conversation flows between two individuals, Santiago and Ambrosia, who talk of their tormented lives and of the overall degradation and frustration that has slowly taken over their town. Through a complicated web of secrets and historical references, Mario Vargas Llosa analyzes the mental and moral mechanisms that govern power and the people behind it. More than a historic analysis, Conversation in The Cathedral is a groundbreaking novel that tackles identity as well as the role of a citizen and how a lack of personal freedom can forever scar a people and a nation."

Mario Vargas Llosa's classic early novel takes place in a Peruvian town, situated between desert and jungle, which is torn by boredom and lust. Don Anselmo, a stranger in a black coat, builds a brothel on the outskirts of the town while he charms its innocent people, setting in motion a chain reaction with extraordinary consequences. This brothel, called the Green House, brings together the innocent and the corrupt: Bonificia, a young Indian girl saved by the nuns only to become a prostitute; Father Garcia, struggling for the church; and four best friends drawn to both excitement and escape. 

The conflicting forces that haunt the Green House evoke a world balanced between savagery and civilization –and one that is cursed by not being able to discern between the two.

The Time of the Hero has been acclaimed by critics around the world as one of the outstanding Spanish novels of recent decades. In the author's native Peru, this powerful social satire so outraged the authorities that a thousand copies were publicly burned.The novel is set in Leoncio Prado Military Academy in Lima, where a group of cadets attempt to break out of the vicious round of sadistic ragging, military discipline, confinement and boredom. But their pranks set off a cycle of betrayal, murder and revenge which jeopardizes the entire military hierarchy.

Short stories and novellas

Los cachorros is a memorable tale, exploring the intimacy of an adolescent tormented by a grotesque mutilation. Pichula Cuéllar's castration would be laughable in other hands, but Vargas Llosa succeeds in making the character's emotional disintegration believable. Genital mutilation excludes Pichula from love and pleasure and prevents him from moving towards an adult identity.

The story, which seeks at all times a plural voice (according to the author a work more sung than told), which undulates from one character to another, from the subjective to the objective, has given rise to an incredible number of interpretations: evocation of youth, parable about the impotence of a social class, castration of the artist in the underdeveloped world, and many others. Any of them can be true, because Los cachorros has the intensity and ambiguous character of the great masterpieces.

Vargas Llosa's domain is the Peru of male youth and machismo, where life's dramas play themselves out on the soccer field, on the dance floor and on street corners.


“From the first time I read The Decameron in my youth, I thought the initial situation presented in the book, before the stories began, was essentially theatrical: trapped in a city besieged by the plague, from which they cannot escape, a group of young people manages to flee to an imaginary world by sheltering in a villa to tell stories. Faced with an intolerable reality, seven young women and three young men manage to escape into fantasy, into a world of stories that they tell each other. They are taken from their terrible reality to another, of words and dreams, where they are immunised against the plague.”

Los cuentos de la peste is an unpublished play by Mario Vargas Llosa, inspired by Boccaccio’s text. Love, desire, the power of the imagination, and the relationships between the social classes are the keys to this work, which captures the essence of the spirit of The Decameron: lust and sensuality exacerbated by the feeling of crisis, open abyss, and the end of the world. A masterful recreation of a classic of European literature.

Vargas Llosa’s theatrical creations, unknown to many who have enjoyed his fiction, are an essential ingredient of his career and literary interests. This genre allows him to delve into one of the constants in his works: the extent to which the stories we tell and tell ourselves, the fantasies we use to try to brighten each day, are a way of broadening our reality beyond the limits imposed by everyday reality. This volume includes five dramatic texts: La señorita de Tacna (The Young Lady from Tacna) (1981), Kathie y el hipopótamo (Kathie and the Hippopotamus) (1983), La Chunga (1986), El loco de los balcones (The Madman of the Balconies) (1993), and Ojos bonitos, cuadros feos (Pretty Eyes, Ugly Pictures) (1996).

Mario Vargas Llosa y Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, bajo la dirección de Joan Ollé, representaron en Madrid, Tenerife y Sevilla Las mil noches y una noche, una versión que el autor realizó de este clásico de la literatura. Esta obra se estrenó en Madrid el 2 de julio de 2008, en los Jardines de Sabatini, dentro del festival Veranos de la Villa. La edición incluye fotografías de Ros Ribas.

¿Vivió Odiseo las historias maravillosas que refiere a los deslumbrados feacios en la corte del rey Alcino? No hay manera de saberlo. Pudiera ser que sí y que su excelente memoria y su habilidad narradora enriquecieran sus credenciales de hombre de acción.

En Ojos bonitos, cuadros feos el prestigioso crítico de arte Eduardo Zanelli se las promete muy felices porque ha conseguido que le acompañe a su casa, tras conocerse en un vernissage, un joven apuesto y atractivo. Las cosas, sin embargo, esconden más de lo que se ve a simple vista.

El loco de los balcones escenifica la lucha de un anciano idealista por salvar de la destrucción los balcones de Lima, que se ven amenazados por el implacable avance del progreso y la demolición. En esa batalla desigual ha implicado a su hija, sin darse cuenta de que las ilusiones de una vida pueden también destruir los propósitos de otra.

Includes La Chunga, The Young Lady from Tacna and Kathie and the Hippopotamus.

Includes Kathie and the Hippopotamus, La Chunga and The Young Lady from Tacna.

Includes Kathie and the Hippopotamus, La Chunga and The Young Lady from Tacna.

A Peruvian businessman (Chispas) is alone in a hotel room in London, when a woman (Raquel) claiming to be the sister of on old school friend (Pirulo) visits him. Oddly Chispas has no recollection of his closest friend’s sister. 

Chispas hasn’t seen Pirulo since a violent incident took place between them in their adolescence. Discussing this event with Raquel becomes the starting point of a conversation exploring the consequences of two individuals’ chosen paths, and the complexities surrounding issues of sexual identity. A series of surprising revelations and plot twists nuances a meditation on the costs of committing to authenticity and, conversely, the costs of its betrayal.


Un bárbaro en París is an exclusive compilation of texts dedicated to French culture, not only as reflected by its great writers, but also by intellectuals such as Sartre, Camus, Aron and Revel. It brings to light Mario Vargas Llosa’s love of French literature, further confirmed by his recent election to the Académie Française. In fact, Vargas Llosa is the first member not to have written a work in French and the book includes his previously unpublished induction speech.

In some ways, this extensive and varied compilation settles Vargas Llosa's debt of gratitude to a body of literature and thought that has fascinated him since he was a young man, when he left Peru for Paris, the city where he stayed on with the dream of becoming a writer.

“Was he a great writer? Yes, he was. In the nineteenth century and early twentieth, there is none of his fellow countrymen who had such dedication, ingenuity, commitment, and literary fluency as Pérez Galdós.”

Benito Pérez Galdós was an incomparable chronicler of the events that shook Spain throughout the nineteenth-century and he is considered one of the greatest Spanish novelists of the time. However, the same controversy always surrounds his name. Was he really the equal of Balzac, Dickens and Eça de Queirós, that first line of great nineteenth-century European authors who laid the foundations of the modern novel and took the genre to its greatest heights?

 In this essay Mario Vargas Llosa tries to answer this and other questions about the figure of Benito Pérez Galdós through an entertaining and detailed analysis of his work. The same as in his studies of Madame Bovary and Les Miserables, the Nobel Prize winner invites us to read the classics with clear, unprejudiced eyes in order to better understand the intentions of their authors and, in the case of Galdós, the merits of a monumental literary undertaking unparalleled in Spanish literature.

“For readers of Galdós, and of Vargas Llosa himself, the book will come as a real treat because, as was to be expected, in it he discusses both the Canarian writer and himself – that is to say, his conception of literature and of the demands of the modern novel in particular.” El País

Redécouvrir Benito Pérez Galdós, by Albert Bensoussan, En attendant Nadeau

“In this book there are more valuable lessons on the novelist’s craft than at any faculty of literature.” Juan Gabriel Vásquez.

In September 1967, the two young authors Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa met up in Lima to discuss Latin American literature. The former had already sold thousands of copies of One Hundred Years of Solitude. The latter had just won the Rómulo Gallegos Award for The Green House. Today they are universally considered two of the greatest exponents of literature in Spanish, but at that time they were two young people who were just starting out on their careers as novelists. In Dos soledades, two writers, two literary geniuses, two different ways of understanding literature, two rather contradictory temperaments, two different ways of telling stories, come face to face. Those were the times when the boom was brewing, when a name has not yet been coined for what we refer to today as “magical realism”. In these thrilling pages, the reader attends a conversation unlike any other. 

The edition includes texts by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Luis Rodríguez Pastor, José Miguel Oviedo, Abelardo Oquendo, Abelardo Sánchez León and Ricardo González Vigil, who recall that dialogue, with most of them as witnesses. And there are also two interviews with the Colombian writer, a selection of photos, and the assessment Vargas Llosa makes today of the life and work of García Márquez.

“A dialogue that [...] imbued itself with the narrative magic of both of them: nobody noticed the passing of time.” Carmen Naranjo, EFE 

“Here is Vargas Llosa: novelist-cum-critic and possessor of an exacerbated awareness of his profession, always with the scalpel at the ready. At his side, García Márquez makes great efforts to defend his image as an instinctive, almost wild narrator, allergic to theory and poor at explaining himself and his books; but he knew very well what each screwdriver in his toolbox was for. And, like any great novelist, he understood the art of reading very well.” Juan Gabriel Vasquez 

“This book will help to better understand the position of today's Latin American novelists and to assess the reasons for the splendour that the genre has achieved on this continent.” José Miguel Oviedo 

“That dialogue fused life and literature, theory and practice, imagination and reality, and explained a great deal about the novel and novelists.” Abelardo Oquendo 

“A great event, wonderful, fluid, entertaining and very important for any young person who wants to soak up the atmosphere of literature, whether by reading it or writing it.” Abelardo Sánchez León 

“That great duo of the Latin American novel boom appeared in a literary concert the likes of which I have never heard before or after in all my life.” Ricardo González Vigil

One of the most extraordinary writers of the 20th century, Jorge Luis Borges, seen through the eyes of Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa.

“Although absolute perfection does not seem to belong to this world, even in the works of the greatest artists, if anyone came close to achieving it, it was Borges.” 

“This collection of articles, conferences, reviews and notes bears witness to over half a century of reading an author who has been an endless source of pleasure for me since I read his first stories and essays in the Lima of the 1950s. I have reread him many times and, unlike what has happened with other writers who marked my adolescence, I’ve never been disappointed. On the contrary, each new reading revives my enthusiasm and enjoyment, revealing to me new secrets and subtleties of the world of Borges, so unusual in its themes and so transparent and elegant in its expression.”

“I have always read Borges not only with that feeling of exaltation evoked by a great writer but also with an indefinable sense of nostalgia, and the sensation that something from that dazzling universe born of his imagination and his prose will always elude me, however much I admire and appreciate him. The handful of books he wrote, always short books and as perfect as a circle, where one has the impression that nothing is missing or superfluous, have had and continue to have an enormous impact on those who write in Spanish.”

Mario Vargas Llosa

“The same as certain articles in the successive volumes of Contra viento y marea (Making Waves), or his essays on Victor Hugo and Onetti, or some apparently minor work such as Cartas a un joven novelista (Letters to a Young Novelist), those books contain the most complex, passionate and persuasive vision of the novel and the profession of novelist that I know of. They also provide the best stimulus a novelist can find to write, a stimulus only inferior to that provided by Vargas Llosa's own novels.” Javier Cercas,  El País



The intellectual autobiography of Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa.

 “From its origins, the liberal doctrine has represented the most advanced forms of democratic culture, and what has most defended us from the inextinguishable ‘call of the tribe’. This book hopes to make a modest contribution to that indispensable task.”

The difference between La llamada de la tribu and other books, such as A Fish in the Water, is that this time the focus is not on the author’s experiences, but on the readings that shaped the way he thinks and has viewed the world over the past fifty years. The Peruvian Nobel Laureate has mapped out the liberal thinkers who helped him develop a new body of ideas after the great ideological traumas of disenchantment with the Cuban Revolution and alienation from the ideas of Jean-Paul Sartre, the author who most inspired Vargas Llosa in his youth. Adam Smith, José Ortega y Gasset, Friedrich Hayek, Karl Popper, Raymond Aron, Isaiah Berlin and Jean-François Revel helped the author enormously during those uneasy years. They showed him another school of thought that placed the individual before the tribe, nation, class or party, and defended freedom of expression as a fundamental value for the exercise of democracy.

Reseña, La llamada de la tribu, por Bernabé Sarabia, El Cultural, 2 de marzo 2018

'Vargas Llosa y sus siete maestros', por Juan Cruz, El País, 20 febrero 2018

'Entre la libertad y el liberalismo', por Juan Luis Cebrián, Babelia, 5 de marzo 2018

Mario Vargas Llosa presenta La llamada de la tribu, Casa América, Madrid, 28 feb 2018 (vídeo)

«Il revient donc à Mario Vargas Llosa, qui est un des meilleurs auteurs de la littérature mondiale, d’avoir donné une grande leçon d’économie libérale aux milieux politiques et économiques actuellement confrontés à la sortie de la crise pandémique.» La Revue de Sciences de Gestion

A master class about the contemporary reality and craft of a novelist

Princeton University, New Jersey, 2015. For a semester, Mario Vargas Llosa taught a course on literature and politics with Rubén Gallo. Both men spoke to the students about the theory of the novel and the relationship between journalism, politics and literature through five books by the author: Conversation in the Cathedral, The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta, Who Killed Palomino Molero?, A Fish in the Water, and The Feast of the Goat.

During these conversations, the Nobel Laureate speaks with his usual lucidity of the writer’s craft and the challenges he faces while constructing his novels, but also offers an intelligent analysis of today’s world. Particularly moving is his talk with Philippe Lançon, the Charlie Hebdo journalist who survived the Islamist attack that same year.

Three complementary perspectives converge in this book: that of the author, who reveals the creative process behind his novels; that of Rubén Gallo, who analyses the different meanings Vargas Llosa’s works take on at the time of their publication; and that of the students, whose reflections and questions give voice to millions of Vargas Llosa’s readers.

Conversation at Princeton is an unparalleled opportunity to attend a master class on literature and reality, taught by one of the writers most widely recognised and valued worldwide.

“Mario Vargas Llosa has surprised us with a new book, which, although it is not a novel, involves what he does best: creative, literary orality, in the style of Borges.  And it draws on the multiple perspectives provided to him by his profession as an intellectual and as an observer of the more immediate reality – so faithfully reflected in his newspaper articles, which are something like short essays a la Montaigne.”  La Tribuna

Penser en romancier, par Stephan Michau, En Attendant Nadeau

Selection of texts by Carlos Granés. Forty great ideas that have changed the world. What is a great book? Does reading make us better people? Why should we devote our time to fiction? Mario Vargas Llosa responds to these questions with intense literary passion. He argues against the idea of literature as a luxury pastime, and in favour of reading as irreplaceable for forming free individuals.

In the past, culture was a kind of vital consciousness that constantly rejuvenated and revivified everyday reality. Now it is largely a mechanism of distraction and entertainment. Notes on the Death of Culture is an examination and indictment of this transformation –penned by none other than the Nobel winner Mario Vargas Llosa, who is not only one of our finest novelists but one of the keenest social critics at work today.

Taking his cues from T. S. Eliot –whose treatise Notes Towards the Definition of Culture is a touchstone precisely because the culture Eliot aimed to describe has since vanished– Vargas Llosa traces a decline whose ill effects have only just begun to be felt. He mourns, in particular, the figure of the intellectual: for most of the twentieth century, men and women of letters drove political, aesthetic, and moral conversations; today they have all but disappeared from public debate.

But Vargas Llosa stubbornly refuses to fade into the background. He is not content to merely sign a petition; he will not bite his tongue. A necessary provocateur, here vividly translated by John King, provides an impassioned and essential critique of our time and culture.

"The discovery of America by Europeans was undertaken under the reign of myth and fiction. This would virtually mark out a destiny for Latin America: to often be seen or understood by Europeans through the same fanciful eyes as the first seafarers who set foot on her shores." Mario Vargas Llosa




What are Mario Vargas Llosa’s liberal principles? What is his position with regard to the reality of Latin America? Sables y utopías is a collection of essays that reflect the battles Mario Vargas Llosa has fought for freedom, from his frontal opposition to dictatorships and excitement and later disenchantment with revolutions to his discovery of liberal ideas and defence of the democratic system.


Mario Vargas Llosa offers us a personal reading of the works of Juan Carlos Onetti, from his first stories and publications to his final novels. He performs a valuable analysis of Onetti’s works, with emphasis on a preoccupation shared by both authors: the complicated yet necessary relationship between literary fiction and reality.

When a master novelist, essayist, and critic searches for the wellsprings of his own work, where does he turn? Mario Vargas Llosa answers this most personal question with elegant concision in this collection of essays. In Four Centuries of Don Quixote, he revisits the quintessential Spanish novel –a fiction about fiction whose ebullient prose still questions the certainties of our stumbling ideals. In recounting his illicit, delicious discovery of Borges' fiction  –"the most important thing to happen to imaginative writing in the Spanish language in modern times"– Vargas Llosa stands in for a generation of Latin American novelists who were liberated from their sense of isolation and inferiority by this Argentinean master of the European tradition. In a nuanced appreciation of Ortega y Gasset, Vargas Llosa recovers the democratic liberalism of a misunderstood radical –a mid-century political philosopher on a par with Sartre and Russell, ignored because "he was only a Spaniard." And in essays on the influence of Karl Popper and Isaiah Berlin, the author finds an antidote to the poisonous well of fanaticism in its many modern forms, from socialist utopianism and nationalism to religious fundamentalism. From these essays a picture emerges of a writer for whom the enchantment of literature awakens a critical gaze on the turbulent world in which we live.

Touchstones collects Vargas Llosa's brilliant readings of seminal twentieth-century novels, from Heart of Darkness to The Tin Drum; incisive essays on political and social thinkers; and contemporary pieces on 9/11 and the immediate aftermath of the war in Iraq.


Fantastically intelligent, inspired, and surprising, Touchstones is a landmark collection of essays from one of the world's leading writers and intellectuals.

It was one of the most popular novels of the nineteenth century and Tolstoy called it "the greatest of all novels." Yet today Victor Hugo's Les Misérables is neglected by readers and undervalued by critics. In The Temptation of the Impossible, Mario Vargas Llosa, helps us to appreciate the incredible ambition, power, and beauty of Hugo's masterpiece and, in the process, presents a humane vision of fiction as an alternative reality that can help us imagine a different and better world.

Hugo, Vargas Llosa says, had at least two goals in Les Misérables –to create a complete fictional world and, through it, to change the real world. Despite the impossibility of these aims, Hugo makes them infectious, sweeping up the reader with his energy and linguistic and narrative skill. Les Misérables, Vargas Llosa argues, embodies a utopian vision of literature –the idea that literature can not only give us a supreme experience of beauty, but also make us more virtuous citizens, and even grant us a glimpse of the "afterlife, the immortal soul, God." If Hugo's aspiration to transform individual and social life through literature now seems innocent, Vargas Llosa says, it is still a powerful ideal that great novels like Les Misérables can persuade us is true.

This splendid work is an immersion in the views of Mario Vargas Llosa about the purpose of literature and the present and future of books.

Mario Vargas Llosa condenses a lifetime of writing, reading, and thought into an essential manual for aspiring writers. Drawing on the stories and novels of writers from around the globe-Borges, Bierce, Céline, Cortázar, Faulkner, Kafka, Robbe-Grillet-he lays bare the inner workings of fiction, all the while urging young novelists not to lose touch with the elemental urge to create. Conversational, eloquent, and effortlessly erudite, this little book is destined to be read and re-read by young writers, old writers, would-be writers, and all those with a stake in the world of letters.

Spanning thirty years of writing, Making Waves traces the development of the Nobel Prize winning author Mario Vargas Llosa's thinking on politics and culture, and shows the breadth of his interests and passions. Featured here are astute meditations on the Cuban Revolution, Latin American independence, and the terrorism of Peru's Shining Path; brilliant engagements with towering figures of literature such as Joyce, Faulkner, and Sartre; and observations about the dog cemetery where Rin Tin Tin is buried, Lorena Bobbitt's knife, and the failures of the English public-school system.

Eight informal essays by Mario Vargas Llosa that unravel the evolution and background of six of his favorite novels. A witty and candid intellectual work in which Llosa offers both an artistic autobiography and his reflections on the creative process.

In this book, Mario Vargas Llosa shows us the power of words, the subtle and abstract passion of Tirant lo Blanc, which he regards as one of the most modern and ambitious of the classic novels. These three essays are the product of an uninterrupted, exciting and passionate relationship with Tirant lo Blanc. The first addresses the idea of the total novel, illustrated five hundred years earlier in this book of chivalry. “It’s the total novel. A fantastic, historical, social, erotic, psychological book of chivalry: all of those things at the same time, and none of them exclusively.” The second offers a more personal image of Joan Martorell through his letters, and the third defends the importance of “the words” in the book.

Spanning thirty years of writing, Making Waves traces the development of the Nobel Prize winning author Mario Vargas Llosa's thinking on politics and culture, and shows the breadth of his interests and passions. Featured here are astute meditations on the Cuban Revolution, Latin American independence, and the terrorism of Peru's Shining Path; brilliant engagements with towering figures of literature such as Joyce, Faulkner, and Sartre; and observations about the dog cemetery where Rin Tin Tin is buried, Lorena Bobbitt's knife, and the failures of the English public-school system.

This is a collection of essays and documents about the French authors Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) and Albert Camus (1913-1960), previously published by Vargas Llosa in different newspapers and magazines over more than 20 years, between 1960 and 1981. This book is a product of Vargas Llosa’s interest in the two French writers, who were both left-wing activists who knew each other and collaborated between 1943 and 1951, when deep personal disagreements arose between them after Les Temps Modernes, a magazine edited by Sartre, published a devastating review of Camus’ book The Rebel.



The book's first section is a tete-a-tete with Emma Bovary; the second traces the gestation and birth of the novel, as well as Flaubert's method, his mania for documentation, and the novel's literary sources; the third situates it in literary history. Vargas Llosa's first work of non-fiction will send the reader back to Flaubert's masterpiece with renewed interest.

The admiration that Mario Vargas Llosa felt on reading One Hundred Years of Solitude resulted in García Márquez: The Story of a Deicide, the essay that has gone the deepest into the magic and secrets of the masterpiece that made Gabriel García Márquez world famous. Published in 1971, this almost unknown book has now been re-edited, settling a historical controversy.

A master class, brimming with sensitivity and respect for the creative act, from one Nobel laureate to another.

‘An indirect portrait of a brilliant writer who had the generosity to read his contemporary as if he were a classic. A rarity.’ Babelia, El País

‘It would seem that Vargas Llosa knows more about García Márquez than García Márquez himself. It brings to mind a museum built to house a work of art, and in the end, the architecture of the building is as valuable or even more so than the work it holds.’ Clarín

‘A hymn to friendship and admiration, a proof of extreme affection and generosity. [...] A perfect and rare work of art.’ El País

‘The best essay on García Márquez. A literary event. [...] A tremendously ambitious and profound study that dissects and analyzes with enormous rigour the demons, the events, the sometimes implausible stories that forged the prose of the Colombian writer until he reached One Hundred Years of Solitude.’ La Opinión de Málaga




In 1966, Mario Vargas Llosa published La casa verde (The Green House), one of the most important and decisive novels of his literary career. Indeed, in addition to its suggestive plot, La casa verde is sustained by a dense plurality of voices, tenses and narrative points of view.

In this book, Historia secreta de una novela, Vargas Llosa reveals what every good reader always wants to know about the authors they admire: how the literary work was conceived, how personal experience is transformed into verbal history, how someone becomes a writer. On these pages, we learn that writing a novel is a sort of “reverse striptease” in which the charms revealed are none other than the “nostalgias, guilt and resentments” the author is dragging around.

This is the unforgettable story of how every authentic storyteller mixes suitable doses of fiction and reality, autobiography and self-invention, and turns his own “green house” into one of those mythical places in the collective imagination.

Biography / Memoirs

Mario Vargas Llosa's A Fish in the Water is a twofold book: a memoir by one of Latin America's most celebrated writers, beginning with his birth in 1936 in Arequipa, Peru; and the story of his organization of the reform movement which culminated in his bid for the Peruvian presidency in 1990.

Llosa evokes the experiences which gave rise to his fiction, and describes the social, literary, and political influences that led him to enter the political arena as a crusader for a free-market economy.

Journalistic Work

What does Mario Vargas Llosa read? Why did he become a writer? What is his conception of the art of fiction? What books have marked his life?

Culture is the protagonist of El fuego de la imaginación, the first volume of Mario Vargas Llosa's journalistic work, organised into themes. In its pages the reader will find invaluable reflections on the profession of writing and the literary vocation, as well as a vast number of reviews – devoted to literature, cinema, theatre, art, architecture, alongside recommendations and passionate readings, with the focus on Latin American, French and English literature.

There is an abundance of classic authors, including Flaubert, Balzac, Tolstoy, Dickens, Kafka and Faulkner, and contemporary ones too, such as J. M. Coetzee, Svetlana Alexiévich and Michel Houellebecq. In fact, the list is endless: Carmen Laforet, Romain Gary, Irène Némirovsky, George Orwell, Susan Sontag, Arthur Koestler, Laurent Binet, Stieg Larsson and a long et cetera of other authors, where Vargas Llosa, in his prominent role as a critic, transmits his enthusiasm for reading. On more than one occasion he has affirmed that learning to read was the most important thing that ever happened to him in his life.

“These are reflections that have matured throughout a life devoted to reading novels and contemplating art, theatre and cinema. They also constitute a comprehensive formulation of the human condition.” —From the foreword by Carlos Granés (The Fire of the Imagination)

“His books contain the most intricate, passionate, and persuasive vision of the novel and the novelist's craft that I am aware of; they also contain the greatest inspiration that a novelist can find to write, an inspiration second only to the one found within Vargas Llosa's own novels.” Javier Cercas, El País

“The unyielding independence of judgment, personal criteria, the accumulation of experiences, and Vargas Llosa's extensive readings transform this work into a sort of literarized biography, a vital GPS, the raw material for his novels.” Culturas, La Vanguardia

“An outstanding lesson from a great reader.” Babelia, El País

“Much like Rayuela (Hopscotch), Julio Cortázar's masterpiece, The Fire of the Imagination is, in its own way, many books.” ABC

Massive citizen protests, opposition from worldwide public opinion, refusals from many governments...nothing stopped the Anglo-American intervention in Iraq. But after the battle, beyond the ruins, chaos and desolation, what kind of future awaits the Iraqis? Mario Vargas Llosa travelled to the scene of the conflict, spoke to opinion leaders and people on the street, and collected testimonies. The result was a magnificent series of reports published in the daily newspaper El País, now contained in this book along with photographs by Morgana Vargas Llosa.





This book is the result of a trip to Israel and Palestine that Mario Vargas Llosa took in 2005. His daughter, Morgana, went two weeks earlier to photograph the departure of colonists from 21 Israeli settlements on the Gaza Strip, and to set up the interviews that helped him write these stories. The author reiterates his position in favour of the existence of Israel and its right to defend itself from fanatics who would like to see it disappear from the face of the earth. He also expresses his admiration for many of its achievements. But there is no lack of criticism of the Israeli government and its policy with regard to the Palestinian question, inspired by the same principles of love of freedom and justice that led Vargas Llosa to defend Israel against those who caricatured it as a mere pawn of imperialism in the Middle East.

Internationally acclaimed novelist Mario Vargas Llosa has contributed a biweekly column to Spain's major newspaper, El País, since 1977. In this collection of columns from the 1990s, Vargas Llosa weighs in on the burning questions of the last decade, including the travails of Latin American democracy, the role of religion in civic life, and the future of globalization. But Vargas Llosa's influence is hardly limited to politics. In some of the liveliest critical writing of his career, he makes a pilgrimage to Bob Marley's shrine in Jamaica, celebrates the sexual abandon of Carnaval in Rio, and examines the legacies of Vermeer, Bertolt Brecht, Frida Kahlo, and Octavio Paz, among others.

Books for children and young readers

Mario Vargas Llosa, one of the most important novelists and contemporary essayists, gives us the incredible but true story of a group of young people that started a crusade in the 12th Century. It was known as the “Children’s Crusade”. The book is illustrated by Zuzanna Celej with a delicate and detailed style, and with some qualities and textures that give to this story the ideal graphic support.

Illustrated by Zuzanna Celej.



Fonchito is dying to kiss Nereida, the prettiest girl in his class, but she’s imposed one condition: she’ll kiss him on the cheek if he brings down the moon and give it to her...

A good first step into the world of Mario Vargas Llosa, through this picture book for young children. Illustrated by Marta Chicote.

"It is well worth noting, that every step of the way, Fonchito asks for permission, obeys Nereida’s dictates, and never presses his case. Even after he fulfills her request, it is Nereida who gives the final permission, casting this tale perhaps less as one of dedication and more about consent. The stylized curves within the art lend the book a sinuous continuity, while clever problem-solving proves to be far more effective than any ladder to the skies. Heavenly bodies are all well and good, but this tale of permission asked and granted is worth more than the moon." Kirkus Review





The exceptional correspondence between four great writers who were also great friends and allies. An invaluable testament to an incomparable epoch and generation.

Written between 1955 and 2012, the 207 letters in this book reproduce the friendship that was built up between four of the greatest boom writers, from different countries and each with his own narrative project. Although they would drift apart over time because of political and personal differences, for decades they regaled each other with generous displays of affection and admiration, shared their doubts and valuable advice on the craft of writing, and were accomplices in their mutual success, despite the fact that success came to each of them at a different time and in a different way.

This newly published correspondence takes the reader behind the curtains into the private lives underlying that success. It constitutes an invaluable document not only for understanding a key period in Latin American literature and history, but also for discovering the most human and private side of Julio Cortázar, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa.  

Edition by Carlos Aguirre, Gerald Martin, Javier Munguía y Augusto Wong Campos.

A luminous book, as enduring as the history it describes. Las cartas del Boom evokes the spirit of elation in which the most powerful phenomenon of 20th century literary creation in Spanish emerged.” Juan Cruz, El Periódico

 “These letters make for absorbing reading and bring to light the hidden workings of literature. Truly a historical book.” El Cultural

 “An epistolary book like few others, because it is a portrait of an epoch." Sergio Ramirez

  “In an epoch where the so-called literatures of the self prevail, these letters that were not written with literary intent have now become, inadvertently, literature (of the self) and a historical document.” Laura Ventura, La Nación

“An exceptional human, intellectual and literary document (...) What makes the volume special is the lay-out of this epistolary, which succeeds in creating the sensation of a live conversation between the four writers. (...) They are like teenagers discussing what they are passionate about and fall in love with. Their voices can be heard, sometimes almost audible, sometimes fast, measured or meditative, and concerned with giving each other support. They express themselves sincerely and candidly when they comment on their works.” Winston Manrique Sabogal

  “Seeing some of the greatest authors of the 20th century talking to each other in private, without imagining that anyone will find out what they are saying, turns the reader of their correspondence into someone spying on the history of literature.” Xavi Ayén, La Vanguardia

Anthology / Selection

An anthology of Vargas Llosa’s novelistic works, including a useful prologue about the author’s world by a major Spanish critic, Miguel García Posada.

 En cinco volúmenes:

  • Volumen I. Narraciones y novelas (1959-1967) Los jefes / La ciudad y los perros / La casa verde / Los cachorros / Apéndice: Historia secreta de una novela.
  • Volumen II. Novelas. (1969-1977): Conversación en la Catedral / Pantaleón  y las visitadoras / La tía Julia y el escribidor.
  • Volumen III. Novelas y teatro. (1981-1986):  La señorita de Tacna / La guerra del fin del mundo / Kathie y el hipopótamo / Historia de Mayta / La Chunga / ¿Quién mató a Palomino Molero?.
  • Volumen IV. Ensayos literarios I. Carta de batalla por Tirant lo Blanc / García Márquez. Historia de un deicidio / La orgía perpetua. Flaubert y Madame Bovary / La utopía arcaica / Cartas a un joven novelista.
  • Volumen V. Novelas. (2000 - 2006): La Fiesta del Chivo / El Paraíso en la otra esquina / Travesuras de la niña mala

Other genres

Compiled from a dialogue between award-winning authors Magris and Vargas Llosa, which took place in the National Library of Peru in 2009, in which they discussed the power of literature to change the world. With a prologue by Renato Poma.

On December 7, 2010, Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. His Nobel Lecture is a resounding tribute to fiction's power to inspire readers to greater ambition, to dissent, and to political action. "We would be worse than we are without the good books we have read, more conformist, not as restless, more submissive, and the critical spirit, the engine of progress, would not even exist," Vargas Llosa writes. "Like writing, reading is a protest against the insufficiencies of life. When we look in fiction for what is missing in life, we are saying, with no need to say it or even to know it, that life as it is does not satisfy our thirst for the absolute—the foundation of the human condition—and should be better." Vargas Llosa's lecture is a powerful argument for the necessity of literature in our lives today. For, as he eloquently writes, "literature not only submerges us in the dream of beauty and happiness but alerts us to every kind of oppression." 

Dinosaurios en tiempos difíciles, es el discurso que el autor leyó en 1996 cuando le fue entregado el Premio de la Paz y en el que reflexiona sobre el papel de la literatura en nuestra historia y en nuestra formación como persona. Incluído en la nueva edición de La civilización del espectáculo (2012).

En esta pieza, Mario Vargas Llosa, hace una profunda reflexión sobre el papel que representa hoy en día la literatura: tanto como un hábito olvidado, como una solución a los muchos conflictos que actualmente nos acosan, no sólo como individuos, sino también como sociedad. “Para sobrevivir, la literatura se ha tornado light”. En este sentido, Vargas Llosa nos advierte sobre la desnaturalización que ha sufrido la literatura y los efectos que esto puede traer consigo, aunque en apariencia, solo se trata de “un arte más”.

Pregón leído por Mario Vargas Llosa en La Maestranza de Sevilla, el 23 de abril de 2000, incluido en la Antología Sentimiento del toreo, editada por Carlos Marzal.

En palabras del autor: «Este libro es un testimonio del compromiso con América Latina que adquirí en París, hace ahora medio siglo, y al que me mantengo fiel. Es cierto que cualquiera que hojee sus páginas se apercibirá de que, en el curso del tiempo, mis opiniones literarias, mis juicios políticos, mis entusiasmos y mis críticas han cambia do muchas veces de objetivo y de contenido, cada vez que lo exigía de mí una realidad cambiante. Pero mi interés, mi curiosidad y también mi pasión por ese mundo complejo, trágico y formidable, de intensa creatividad, de sufrimientos y penas indecibles, donde las formas más refinadas de la civilización se mezclan con las de la pura barbarie, han llegado intactos al día de hoy...".

Spanning thirty years of writing, Making Waves traces the development of the Nobel Prize winning author Mario Vargas Llosa's thinking on politics and culture, and shows the breadth of his interests and passions. Featured here are astute meditations on the Cuban Revolution, Latin American independence, and the terrorism of Peru's Shining Path; brilliant engagements with towering figures of literature such as Joyce, Faulkner, and Sartre; and observations about the dog cemetery where Rin Tin Tin is buried, Lorena Bobbitt's knife, and the failures of the English public-school system.

  • Prologue to Historia del ojo, by Georges Bataille, 1986, 1993. Ed Tusquets.
  • Una pasión no correspondida (Prologue to Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert, 1996) Círculo de Lectores.
  • Las discretas ficciones de Azorín (Prologue to Azorín, by José Martínez Ruíz, 1998) Espasa Calpe.
  • Prologue to La condición humana (La condition humaine), by André Malraux,1999) Bibliotex/Unidad Editorial.
  • El héroe y la historia (Prologue to La condición humana, by André Malraux, 2000. Círculo de Lectores.
  • En el corazón de las tinieblas (Prologue to El Fantasma Del Rey Leopoldo (King Leopold Ghost), by Adam Hochschild, 2002. Península.
  • La vida intensa y suntuosa de lo banal (of La verdad de las mentiras). Prologue to La Señora Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf, 2003) Lumen.
  • La Odisea De Flora Tristán (Prrologue to Antología: Flora Tristan Meine Reise Nach Peru. Fahrten Einer Paria, 2004) Insel Verlag.
  • Una novela para el siglo XXI (Prologue to Don Quijote de la Mancha, by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (edición conmemorativa IV Centenario para la RAE, 2004 ) Santillana.
  • Dos Muchachas (Prologue, Epilogue to Nada, by Carmen Laforet) Hermes.
  • Piedra de toque. El regreso del idiota (in El regreso del idiota, by Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Álvaro Vargas Llosa - Antología -, 2007). Debate.
  • Tirant lo Blanc, Novela Sin Fronteras (Prologue to Tirant lo Blanc, by Joanot Martorell, 2007) Iwanami Shoten Publishers.
  • Eugenie Grandet (Prologue to Eugenie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac, 2007) Siruela.
  • La Odisea de Flora Tristán (Prologue to Paseos por Londres, de Flora Tritán, 2008) Global Rhythm Press.
  • Poe y Cortazar (Text and prologue to Cuentos completos, de Julio Cortázar, 2009) Páginas de Espuma.
  • El dragón en la Historia (Prologue to Dragones de la Política, by Pedro González-Tevijano, 2010) Círculo de Lectores/Galaxia Guterberg.
  • Prologue  (to Novelas de Santa Mária, by Juan Carlos Onetti, 2010) RBA. 
  • Almas flexibles (Prologue to El cero y el infinito, by Arthur Koestler, Random DeBolsillo) 
  • La amistad y los libros (Prologue to the anthology L’Oubli que nous serons -El olvido que seremos-, by Héctor Abad Feciolince, 2010) Gallimard. 
  • América Latina una y multiple (Prologue to Les bonnes nouvelles de l’Amerique Latine, edited by Fernando Iwasaki and Gustavo Guerrero, 2010) Gallimard.
  • El gran Gatsby: Un castillo en el aire (Prologue to El gran Gatsby, by Francis Scott Fitzgeraldm 2012) RBA. 
  • Una explosión sarcástica en la novela española moderna (Prologue to Últimas tardes con Teresa, by Juan Marsé: ) Published by Insula and in Biblioteca Básica Salvat (1966)
  • Prologue and edition of the collection Maestros Modernos Europeos by Círculo de Lectores.
  • El héroe y la historia (Prologue to La condición humana,by André Malraux), 2000.
  • El gatopardo, entre Stendhal y Balzac. (Prologue to El Gatopardo, by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, 2000). 
  • Nadja como ficción (Prologue to Nadja, by André Breton, 2001).
  • Almas flexibles (Prologue to El cero y el infinito, by Arthur Koestler, 2001).
  • Los cuentos de la Baranosa (Prologue to Siete cuentos góticos, by Isak Dinesen. “Seven Gothic Tales”), 2003.
  • 2º capítulo de El viaje de la ficción (Prologue to La vida breve, by Juan Carlos Onetti, 2010) Einaudi. 


  • 2021 - Prix André Malraux 'Fiction engagée' for Tiempos recios
  • 2019 - Premio Francisco Umbral for Tiempos recios
  • 2017 - Yasnaya Polyana Award (Foreign Literature) for El héroe discreto
  • 2016 - International Prize Pedro Henríquez Ureña (República Dominicana)
  • 2016 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Diego Portales (Chile)
  • 2016 - Prix Diálogo a la Amistad Hispano-Francesa
  • 2016 - Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress (USA)
  • 2016 - Friedrich A. Von Hayek Medal, Heildeberg (Germany)
  • 2016 – Don Quijote Journalism Prize for his article Cusco en el tiempo, published in El País on 11 January 2015
  • 2016 – Honorary Doctorate from the Universidad Internacional Menéndez y Pelayo
  • 2015 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Princeton (Estados Unidos)
  • 2015 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Eötvös Loránd (Hungary)
  • 2015 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Palermo (Italy)
  • 2015 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Salamanca (Spain)
  • 2015 - Sorolla Medal by the Hispanic Society of America
  • 2015 - Gold Medal by the Comunidad de Madrid (Spain)
  • 2015 - Milovan Vidakovic Award (Serbia)
  • 2015 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Carabobo (Venezuela)
  • 2014 - Iberoamerican Prize Libertad Cortes de Cádiz
  • 2014 – Honorary Doctorate from the University Nova of Lisbon (Portugal)
  • 2014 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Firenze (Italy)
  • 2014 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of República de Uruguay
  • 2014 - Honorary Doctorate from the University Carlos III of Madrid
  • 2013 - Columnistas del Mundo Prize, Journalism International Prize by El Mundo
  • 2013 - Conviviality Prize by the Ciudad Autónoma de Ceuta
  • 2013 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • 2013 - Giuseppe Tomaso di Lampedusa Literature Prize (Italy)
  • 2013 - La fiesta del chivo is considered to be the best Spanish novel of the twenty-first century, according to a poll carried out by the ABC newspaper
  • 2013 - Antonio de Sancha Prize, by the Asociación de Editores de Madrid
  • 2012 - ’Miguel Grau’ Medal in recognition of his work
  • 2012 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
  • 2012 – Gold Meday by Cercle del Liceu, Barcelona (Spain)
  • 2012 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of La República (Uruguay)
  • 2012 - Selo do Cualidade Prize from the Fundação Nacional do Livro Infantil e Juvenil (Brazil) for Fonchito y la luna
  • 2012 - Carlos Fuentes International Prize for literary creation in the Spanish language
  • 2012 – ‘Premio de la Libertad’, for his work in defence of liberty.
  • 2012 - Miembro ad honorem del Comité de Honor del Ministerio de Cultura de Peru
  • 2011 - Fundación Diario de Madrid Journalism Prize
  • 2011 – King Juan Carlos de Borbón granted him the title of Marqués de Vargas Llosa
  • 2011 - Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca en el grado de Insignia awarded by the government of Mexico
  • 2011 - Pergamino y Medalla de Huésped Distinguido awarded by the City of Mexico
  • 2011 - Honorary Doctorate from the University Mayor of San Marcos, in Lima (Peru)
  • 2011 - Honorary Doctorate from the Andrés Bello University (Chile)
  • 2011 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Tokyo (Japan)
  • 2011 - “Una vida por la libertad” Prize, awarded by the Fundación Azteca (Mexico)
  • 2011 - Orden Vasco Núñez de Balboa en el grado de Gran Cruz (Panama)
  • 2011 - Honour Medal of "José Faustino Sánchez Carrión" awarded by Peru's Constitutional Court, in recognition of his fight to defend democracy and fundamental human rights
  • 2011 - Honorary Doctorate from the Cayetano Heredia University in recognition of his work as a journalist, essayist and novelist
  • 2011 - Chapultepec Grand Prize, awarded by the Inter American Press Association (USA)
  • 2011 - Alexis de Tocqueville Award from the Independent Institute (USA)
  • 2010 - Don Quijote International Prize
  • 2010 - 1812 Prize, Club Liberal 1812, for his career and defence of liberal ideas
  • 2010 - Honorary Doctorate from the Nacional University of Mexico (UNAM)
  • 2010 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Castilla-La Mancha
  • 2010 - III Premio Manuel Ramírez for articles on bull-fighting, for the article Torear y otras maldades, organised by the ABC newspaper
  • 2010 - Internazionale Viareggio-Versilia Prize 
  • 2010 - Alfonso Reyes Prize, awarded by the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA), Mexico, for his career, and for his contributions to literary research
  • 2010 - Nobel Prize for Literature.
  • 2010 - Distinguished Son of Municipio Barranco, for his outstanding achievement as a writer
  • 2010 – Prize by the International Association of Broadcasting 
  • 2010 – Appointed to the Orden de las Artes y las Letras (Peru) for his universal literature and contribution to Peruvian culture
  • 2010 - Honorary Doctorate from the San Ignacio de Loyola University (USIL), Peru
  • 2010 - Orden Heráldica de Cristóbal Colón en el grado de Gran Cruz de Placa de Plata, awarded by the Dominican Republic
  • 2010 – José Enrique Rodó Journalism Prize (Uruguay).
  • 2010 - Orden al Mérito Docente y Cultural Gabriela Mistral, awarded by the Government of Chile
  • 2010 - Honorary Doctorate from New York City University (USA)
  • 2009 - City Medal from the Ciudad Magdalena de Cao (Peru).
  • 2009 - ANDA Prize for the radio program “Mi novela favorita” on RPP, with texts chosen and presented by Mario Vargas Llosa (Lima, Peru)
  • 2009 - Honorary Doctorate from the Cesar Vallejo University of Lima (Peru)
  • 2009 - Honorary Doctorate from the University Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (Lima, Peru)
  • 2009 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Granada
  • 2009 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Bordeaux (France)
  • 2009 - ABC Cultural & Ámbito Cultural Prize (Spain).
  • 2008 - Appointed Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres (France)
  • 2008 - Freedom Prize from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (Germany)
  • 2008 - Honorary Doctorate from the Simón Bolívar University (Venezuela)
  • 2008 - Honorary Doctorate from the Pontificia Universidad Católica of Peru (Lima, Peru)
  • 2008 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Alicante (Spain)
  • 2008 - Isaiah Berlin Prize, by Centro Internazionale di Studi Italiani of the University of Genoa (Italy)
  • 2008 - Cino Del Duca Prize(France)
  • 2008 - Caballero Bonald International Essay Prize for El viaje a la ficción
  • 2007 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of La Rioja (Spain)
  • 2007 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Malaga (Spain)
  • 2007 - Honorary Fellow of King’s College of London
  • 2007 – 13th Tolerance Prize , awarded by the Asociación por la Tolerancia, Barcelona (Spain)
  • 2007 - La Fiesta del Chivo (2000) and El paraíso en la otra esquina (2003), were listed as among the Hundred best Novels Written in Spanish in the last 25 Years, by the magazine Revista Semana (Colombia)
  • 2006 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Puerto Rico
  • 2006 - Grand Cross with Silver Star of the Order of Ruben Dario (Nicaragua)
  • 2006 - Maria Moors Cabot Award, by the University of Columbia (USA)
  • 2006 - Honorary Doctorate from the European University of Madrid (Spain)
  • 2005 - Irving Kristol Award
  • 2005 - Honorary Doctorate from the Sorbonne University (France) 
  • 2005 - Honorary Doctorate from the Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany)
  • 2005 - Honorary Doctorate from the Ricardo Palma University of Lima (Peru)
  • 2004 - Mercosur Award for Literature, by the Fundación Konex of Buenos Aires
  • 2005 - Ovidio Prize from the Festival Days and Nights of Literature, awarded by the Rumanian Writers’ Union
  • 2005 – International Arts Medal from the Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)
  • 2005 - Fernando Lázaro Carreter First Prize, Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez (Madrid, Spain)
  • 2004 – Gold Honour Medal of the Peruan Culture , by the Instituto Nacional de Cultura del Peru, in recognition of his contribution to the development of Peruvian literature.
  • 2004 - Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters, granted by the Universidad de Warwick (UK)
  • 2004 - Honorary Doctorate from the Catholic University of Santa María (Arequipa, Peru)
  • 1997 – Mariano de Cavia Award (by the Spanish Press) for his article Los inmigrantes, which was published in El País on 25 August 1996
  • 1997 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Lima (Peru)
  • 1997 - Honorary Doctorate from the National University of San Agustín de Arequipa (Peru)
  • 1996 – Prize for Peace by the Association of German Booksellers 
  • 1995 - Jerusalem Prize
  • 1995 - Chianti Rufino Antico Fattore International Literature Award in Florence (Italy) for Lituma en los Andes
  • 1995 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Murcia (Spain)
  • 1995 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Valladolid (Spain)
  • 1994 – Member of the Real Academia Española de la Lengua
  • 1994 -  Arzobispo San Clemente de Santiago de Compostela Literature Award for Lituma en los Andes.
  • 1994 - Honorary Doctorate from the Universities of Georgetown and Yale (USA)
  • 1994 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Rennes II (France)
  • 1994 - Miguel de Cervantes Prize, after taking Spanish citizenship 
  • 1993 - Planeta Prize for Lituma en los Andes
  • 1993 - Honorary Doctorate from Dowling College (USA)
  • 1993 - Honorary Doctorate from the Francisco Marroquín University of Guatemala
  • 1993 - Appointed Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres (France)
  • 1992 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Boston (USA)
  • 1992 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of Genoa (Italy)
  • 1992 - INTAR Golden Palm Award from the INTAR Hispanic American Arts Center, New York
  • 1991 - T.S. Eliot awarded by the Ingersoll Foundation of The Rockford Institute (USA), for creative writing
  • 1990 - Castiglione de Sicilia Award (Italy) for merit, for his novels.
  • 1990 - Honorary Professor of the Florida International University of Miami
  • 1990 - Honorary Doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • 1990 - Honorary Doctorate from Connecticut College (USA)
  • 1990 - Honorary Doctorate from Queen Mary’s College (UK)
  • 1990 - Honorary Doctorate from the University of London
  • 1990 - Legión de la Libertad, from the Instituto Cultural Ludwig von Mises (Mexico)
  • 1989 - Scanno Prize (Italy) for El hablador
  • 1988 - Pan American Society Gold Medal Award (USA)
  • 1988 - Prix de la Liberté (Switzerland) awarded by the Fondation Max Schmidheiny
  • 1987 - Appointed Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres (France)
  • 1987 - Honorary Fellow of the Modern Language Association of America (USA)
  • 1987 - Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (USA)
  • 1986 - Prince of Asturias Award for Literature 
  • 1985 - Prix Ritz Paris Hemingway for La guerra del fin del mundo
  • 1985 - Légion d'honneur awarded by the French Government
  • 1977 - Member of the Academia Peruana de la Lengua and held the Simón Bolívar Chair at the University of Cambridge
  • 1959 - Leopoldo Alas Prize for Los jefes
  • 1982 - Instituto Italo Latinoamericano Award, Rome
  • 1979 - Ramón Godó Journalism Award, by La Vanguardia, Barcelona
  • 1967 – Peru Literature National Prize for La casa verde
  • 1967 - Spanish Critics Award for La casa verde
  • 1967 - Rómulo Gallegos Prize for La casa verde
  • 1963 - Spanish Critics Award for La ciudad y los perros
  • 1963 - Formentor Second Prize for La ciudad y los perros
  • 1962 - Biblioteca Breve Prize (Spain) for La ciudad y los perros