The Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa (born March 28, 1936) is one of Latin America's leading novelists and essayists.
Born in Arequipa, to a middle class family, Vargas Llosa attended Peruvian private and military schools. He attended graduate school in Spain and received a PhD from the University of Madrid in 1959. Vargas Llosa first gained attention for La Ciudad y los Perros (1962, translated into English as The Time of The Hero, 1963), based on his teenage experiences at a military school, Colegio Militar Leoncio Prado.
During the 1980s, Vargas Llosa became politically active, and became known for his staunch neoliberal and his admiration for Margaret Thatcher. He ran for the presidency of Peru in 1990 and lost to Alberto Fujimori. During the campaign, his opponents read racey passages of his works over the radio to shock voters.
After living more than thirty years in Europe and acquiring Spanish nationality, Vargas Llosa returned to live in Lima. He continues to write historical novels such as The Feast of the Goat (2000, English trans. 2001), an account of the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. His most recent work El paraíso en la otra esquina (The Way to Paradise) is a historical novel about Paul Gauguin and Flora Tristan.
His work often critiqued the hierarchy of social class and race present in contemporary Peru and Latin America. Many of his works were also autobiographical in nature, as La casa verde (The Green House) (1966) and Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (1977). His sweeping 1981 historical novel The War of the End of The World was set in 19th-century Brazilian Sertao, and based on actual events in Brazilian history, the rebellion of Sebastianist millenarist followers of Antonio Conselheiro in Canudos.
Vargas Llosa is a member of the Real Academia Española.