PARIS (Reuters) – The French Academy, the prestigious institution that shapes the standards of the French language, said on Thursday it will admit Peruvian writer and Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa as a new member, although he is 10 years older than its statutes allow and has never written a book in French.
Vargas Llosa, whose sharp attacks on Peru’s then ruling military made him a leading figure in Latin America’s 1960s literary scene, was admitted with 18 out of 22 votes, the Academy said in a statement.
Vargas Llosa, famous for books such as “La Ciudad y Los Perros (“The Time of the Hero”) and winner of the Nobel Literature Prize in 2010, is 85. He was admitted despite the institution’s age limit of 75. The academy did not comment on this in its statement on the appointment.
Although Vargas Llosa is not a French writer, Le Monde newspaper said the writer speaks French because he lived for a period in Paris.
The French Academy is considered the custodian of the French language throughout the world – charged with drawing up linguistic guidelines and creating new words, such as the term “ordinateur” instead of the English “computer” used in many other languages.
Current members vote in new members. Prominent writers rejected several times include 19th century novelists Emile Zola and Jules Verne.
(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Frances Kerry)