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November 5, 2010

Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa Speaks at CCNY November 18

 Mario Llosa 1

Mario Vargas Llosa, the 2010 Nobel Laureate in Literature, will deliver The President's Lecture and receive an honorary doctorate from CCNY, November 18.

President Staiano-Coico to Confer Honorary Degree, Doctor of Letters, Upon Him

Mario Vargas Llosa, the 2010 Nobel Laureate in Literature, will deliver The City College of New York’s President’s Lecture 5:30 p.m. Thursday, November 18, in the Great Hall of Shepard Hall on the CCNY campus at 160 Convent Avenue, Manhattan. Prior to his address, CCNY President Lisa Staiano-Coico will bestow upon him the honorary degree Doctor of Letters.

Mr. Vargas Llosa’s topic will be “Return of the Monsters.” His lecture comes two weeks after the launch of his latest novel, “El sueño del celta” (“The Celtic's Dream”). The event is free and open to the public, however reservations are recommended.

“Mario Vargas Llosa has been a literary giant in the Spanish-speaking world for decades, with his critically acclaimed writing across different genres,” President Staiano-Coico said. “It is a privilege for us at The City College to host one of his first public lectures since he was awarded the Nobel Prize last month.”

In awarding him the Nobel Prize, the Swedish Academy noted Mr. Vargas Llosa’s “cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt and defeat,” over his illustrious writing career. He is the first Latin American writer to win the prize since Octavio Paz in 1990 and only the sixth since the award was established in 1901. 

“It is a tremendous and richly deserved international recognition of his work,” added Dr. Raquel Chang-Rodríguez, Distinguished Professor of Spanish-American literature and culture at CCNY. “In addition, the award underscores the importance of Spanish, an international language.”
 
She called Mr. Vargas Llosa a superb storyteller who is able to probe the human condition in singular ways. “He has mastered the use of complex stylistic devices to present distinct voices in his fiction,” she said.
 
Born in 1936 in Arequipa, Peru, Mr. Vargas Llosa attended a military high school and graduated from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima in 1958 and earned a PhD in philosophy and letters in 1971 from Spain’s Universidad Complutense de Madrid. His 1963 novel, “The Time of the Hero,” which drew on his military school experiences and exposed the corruption he encountered there, catapulted him onto the literary scene.

Among his other well-known novels are “The Green House,” “Conversation in the Cathedral” and the epic saga “War of the End of the World.” The latter is a fictional narrative about the 19th century uprising in the Brazilian town of Canudos.

In all, Mr. Vargas Llosa has authored more than two-dozen works of fiction and nonfiction. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages including Greek, Hebrew, Arabic and Malayan.

He also has had a prolific career as a journalist, essayist, critic and teacher. Currently lecturing at Princeton University, he has taught at numerous institutions over the last 40 years as a visiting professor. They include King's College of the University of London, the University of Cambridge, Columbia University, Harvard University, Georgetown University, Washington State University and Universidad de Puerto Rico.
 
Among his other distinctions, Mr. Vargas Llosa served as president of the PEN international association of writers and was awarded the Cervantes Prize, the highest literary honor in the Spanish-speaking world, in 1995.

For more information on the President’s Lecture and presentation of the honorary degree to Mr. Vargas Llosa, please call (212) 650-7799. Because of the anticipated large turnout for this event, persons planning to attend should RSVP to events@ccny.cuny.edu to ensure that they will have seating.
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