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Nobel laureate attacks authoritarian governments

17th June 2011

Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature last year, has criticised authoritarian governments during an academic tour of China.

Addressing students at Shanghai International Studies University, the novelist, essayist and journalist said that politics should not only be left up to politicians and emphasised the importance of the public having a say in how a country is run.

According to Vargas Llosa, his 1969 novel Conversation in the Cathedral was intended to demonstrate 'how a dictatorial and authoritarian government corrupts all the society'.

Vargas Llosa, who ran for the Peruvian presidency in 1990 with the center-right Frente Democratico coalition, said a dictatorship 'effectively poisons the less political activities'.

'Every single citizen should participate in the political life of his time. And from that participation the best choices can result,' he added.

Varga Llosa also told the students how media commitments since his Nobel prize victory have impacted on his ability to create new works, with his most recent novel being The Dream of the Celt, a dramatisation of the life of Anglo-Irish diplomat-turned-Irish nationalist Roger Casement.

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