Born in Peru, Vargas Llosa began his journalistic career at the age of 16, and published his first novel, "The Time of the Hero", in 1963. The work was very well received, though was also criticized due to the negative depiction of the Peruvian military.
In addition to writing, Vargas Llosa was also a college professor and a politician (he unsuccessfully ran for president in 1990). In fact, like many of his contemporaries, Vargas Llosa has been politically vocal and active for most of his career.
Vargas Llosa's advancement of literature and the novel as a way to describe his own society and experiences, and more broadly, shared values around the world, writing in a decidedly unique voice and style, while covering a plethora of genres, had made him one of the most important Latin American writers.