PUP Author Mario Vargas Llosa Wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Congratulations to Mario Vargas Llosa, author of the Princeton University Press book The Temptation of the Impossible: Victor Hugo and Les Misérables, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature yesterday morning!

Since 1901, the Nobel Committee has honored outstanding individuals in the fields of science, peace, and literature with their coveted prize consisting of a medal, personal diploma, and 10m kronor – roughly $1 million – cash award. The committee said that it chose the Peruvian author Vargas Llosa for “his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat.”

“It’s been a surprise, very nice, but a surprise. At first I thought it was a joke,” said Vargas Llosa of the early morning phone call informing him of his win. While some are calling his win a surprise, others say that the recognition is long overdue. Vargas Llosa has written over 30 novels, plays, and essays that have been translated into dozens of languages.

His book The Temptation of the Impossible: Victor Hugo and Les Misérables, helps readers to appreciate the intricacies of  Hugo’s masterpiece Les Miserables from a writer’s point of view and presents the idea of  fiction as an alternative reality that can help us imagine a different and better world.

Benjamin Lytal of the Los Angeles Times commented that “although books about other books abound, there are very few that actually tell us what it is like to read. The Temptation of the Impossible, Mario Vargas Llosa’s book about Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, is one of these rare confessions.”

For a complete list of recent award-winning Princeton University Press authors, please click here.


  1. This new in Spain has created great interest, because for many years that was not granted a Nobel prize for literature to an author speaking in Spanish.
    It is certainly a well deserved award but my opinion is like Vargas Llosa’s one, has come a bit late in his career.
    Congratulations to Vargas Llosa!!!

  2. Jorge Rioja says:

    Response…Well, Mario Vargas Llosa is considered one of the most important and influential writers in Latin America for many years and for different reasons. Some of them are, without a doubt, his compromise with freedom, human rights respect, and democracy. At the same time, his exemplary moral behavior, as a person and public figure, puts him as a model to follow for new generations of writers.
    Congratulations to the Swedish Academy for its decision!!!