Roger Casement

Nobel winner Vargas Llosa’s new book is on Irish rebel


Roger Casement

The  next book by 2010 Nobel Literature Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa is about the life of Roger Casement, the Irish rebel who was executed by the British in August 1916 after attempting to run guns from Germany to Ireland.

Vargas Llosa traveled form Peru to  to Banna Strand, in County Kerry where Casement was arrested  to research "El Sueno del Celta" ("The Dream of the Celt"), due to be published  next month.

Mario Vargas Llosa is a legendary writer in in the Spanish-speaking world. He has  has written more than 30 novels, plays and essays, including Conversation in the Cathedral and The Green House.

The Nobel prize winner has dedicated three years of his life  to studying Casement.."I do not remember where I found this character, but he was in a biography of Joseph Conrad. At first I was curious enough, especially because I saw that he had been in the Amazon, Amazonian Peru. I started looking for materials about him and the next thing he had gripped me . "said Vargo Llosa.

Casement, a British diplomat, exposed the terrible treatment of native workers in the Congo by the Belgian government and the British then  sent him investigate the situation of Indians working in the extraction of rubber in the Amazon in the region of Putumayo, on the border between Colombia and Peru.

"Roger Casement is one of the first Europeans who had a clear awareness of what was colonialism and denouncing its abuses." said Vargas Llosa.

After he was captured and spent several months in prison, Roger Casement was eventually sentenced to death for treason after a trial that shocked English society by the airing of the supposed Casement diaries which recounted lurid homosexual affairs, and whose authenticity is still uncertain.

"Casement is a character that bothers a lot to the Irish themselves, because there is a controversial legend about alleged gay sexual practices attributed to him, you never know if there a basis in reality or as part of a British intelligence operation to discredit him. " said Vargo Llosa.

The Swedish Academy said it honoured the 74-year-old author for mapping the "structures of power and (for) his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat".The academy’s permanent secretary, Peter Englund, said  Vargas Llosa is "a divinely gifted story-teller."


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