Literature, Freedom, and Power Mario Vargas Llosa

2013 Oslo Freedom Forum
May 15, 2013

Iconic Peruvian-Spanish author and Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa asks why dictatorships throughout history have been so afraid of literature. He says that a society that does not mobilize literature is jeopardizing its freedom and risks moral and spiritual disintegration. For Vargas Llosa, literature is one of the most important methods of creating the critical and independent citizens that form the backbone of a democratic society. Literature enables people to transcend time and space and become united under a common humanity. This power of literature, Vargas Llosa reveals, is what makes it so threatening to authoritarian regimes. He firmly believes it cannot be replaced by modern technology and audiovisual media.