Lima, 8 March. The Peruvian Government announced this Wednesday by surprise that in the next few hours it will award the Great Collar of the Order of the Sun, the highest national distinction, to the Spanish-Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, one month after his incorporation into the French Academy .
Without prior notice, the presidential office reported shortly before 6:00 p.m. (23:00 GMT) that the ceremony will take place at the Government Palace, located in the historic center of Lima, at 8:00 p.m. (01: 00 GMT).
At that time, Vargas Llosa is expected to receive the Grand Collar of the oldest order in America, one of the most prestigious distinctions granted by the Peruvian State to reward outstanding citizens for their extraordinary services to the country in fields such as the arts, letters, culture and politics.
Vargas Llosa made history last February by joining the French Academy, the institution in charge of ensuring the purity of Molière’s language, in a solemn ceremony in Paris, in which he assured that “the novel will save democracy or it will go lose with her and she’ll be gone.”
“Now let me present my theory, which is worth what it is worth, a little more and, without a doubt, a little less, than so many others that circulate in our age of literary theories. The novel will save democracy or it will spoil with it and disappear “said the Nobel laureate in 2010.
The act was greeted by the Peruvian Foreign Ministry, but it was not until eleven days later that the country’s president, Dina Boluarte, made public her letter of congratulations to the writer.
The election of Vargas Llosa, announced in 2021 to occupy the 18th seat left vacant by the philosopher Michel Serres upon his death in 2019, had caused controversy for violating two great canons of the French Academy: not to elect anyone over 75 years of age ( currently the writer from Arequipa is 86) and being an author who does not originally write in French.
Vargas Llosa, however, reaffirmed at the ceremony his links with France, with its language and especially with authors such as Gustave Flaubert. Without them, he said, he would not have become the writer he is today.
Those who are part of the Academy are known as the “immortals” and make up a select club that now welcomes its first South American. They owe their nickname to the motto of the seal that Cardinal Richelieu gave to the institution he founded in 1635: “À l’immortalité” (To immortality).
The Spanish-Peruvian writer maintains a link with his native country, of which he aspired to be president in 1990, when he was defeated by Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000).
After the elections, he settled in Madrid, since the Fujimori government threatened to take away his Peruvian nationality and, to prevent him from becoming stateless, Spain granted him nationality by naturalization letter.
His ties to Peruvian politics have kept him closely linked to Peru and, in the 2021 presidential elections, led him to unexpectedly support Keiko Fujimori (Alberto Fujimori’s daughter) against Pedro Castillo. EFE