The Most Famous

WRITERS from Peru

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This page contains a list of the greatest Peruvian Writers. The pantheon dataset contains 5,794 Writers, 11 of which were born in Peru. This makes Peru the birth place of the 58th most number of Writers behind Lebanon and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Peruvian Writers of all time. This list of famous Peruvian Writers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Peruvian Writers.

Photo of Mario Vargas Llosa

1. Mario Vargas Llosa (1936 - )

With an HPI of 79.26, Mario Vargas Llosa is the most famous Peruvian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 88 different languages on wikipedia.

Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa, 1st Marquis of Vargas Llosa (born 28 March 1936), more commonly known as Mario Vargas Llosa (; Spanish: [ˈmaɾjo ˈbaɾɣas ˈʎosa]), is a Peruvian writer, journalist, essayist, college professor, and a former politician. Vargas Llosa is one of Latin America's most significant novelists and essayists, and one of the leading writers of his generation. Some critics consider him to have had a larger international impact and worldwide audience than any other writer of the Latin American Boom. In 2010 he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat." He also won the 1967 Rómulo Gallegos Prize, the 1986 Prince of Asturias Award, the 1994 Miguel de Cervantes Prize, the 1995 Jerusalem Prize, the 2012 Carlos Fuentes International Prize, and the 2018 Pablo Neruda Order of Artistic and Cultural Merit. Vargas Llosa rose to international fame in the 1960s with novels such as The Time of the Hero (La ciudad y los perros, literally The City and the Dogs, 1963/1966), The Green House (La casa verde, 1965/1968), and the monumental Conversation in the Cathedral (Conversación en la catedral, 1969/1975). He writes prolifically across an array of literary genres, including literary criticism and journalism. His novels include comedies, murder mysteries, historical novels, and political thrillers. Several, such as Captain Pantoja and the Special Service (1973/1978) and Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (1977/1982), have been adapted as feature films. Many of Vargas Llosa's works are influenced by the writer's perception of Peruvian society and his own experiences as a native Peruvian. Increasingly, however, he has expanded his range, and tackled themes that arise from other parts of the world. In his essays, Vargas Llosa has made many criticisms of nationalism in different parts of the world. Another change over the course of his career has been a shift from a style and approach associated with literary modernism, to a sometimes playful postmodernism. Like many Latin American writers, Vargas Llosa has been politically active throughout his career. While he initially supported the Cuban revolutionary government of Fidel Castro, Vargas Llosa later became disenchanted with its policies, particularly after the imprisonment of Cuban poet Heberto Padilla in 1971. Scholars have described him as supporting neoliberalism, though he identifies himself as a liberal. He ran for the Peruvian presidency in 1990 with the center-right Frente Democrático coalition, advocating classical liberal reforms, but lost the election to Alberto Fujimori. He is the person who, in 1990, "coined the phrase that circled the globe," declaring on Mexican television, "Mexico is the perfect dictatorship," a statement which became an adage during the following decade. Mario Vargas Llosa is also one of the 25 leading figures on the Information and Democracy Commission launched by Reporters Without Borders.

Photo of Isabel Allende

2. Isabel Allende (1942 - )

With an HPI of 77.92, Isabel Allende is the 2nd most famous Peruvian Writer.  Her biography has been translated into 68 different languages.

Isabel Angélica Allende Llona (American Spanish: [isaˈβel aˈʝende] (listen); born in Lima, Peru, 2 August 1942) is a Chilean writer. Allende, whose works sometimes contain aspects of the genre magical realism, is known for novels such as The House of the Spirits (La casa de los espíritus, 1982) and City of the Beasts (La ciudad de las bestias, 2002), which have been commercially highly successful. Allende has been called "the world's most widely read Spanish-language author." In 2004, Allende was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2010, she received Chile's National Literature Prize. President Barack Obama awarded her the 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom.Allende's novels are often based upon her personal experience and historical events and pay homage to the lives of women, while weaving together elements of myth and realism. She has lectured and toured many U.S. colleges to teach literature. Fluent in English, Allende was granted United States citizenship in 1993, having lived in California since 1989, first with her U.S. husband (from whom she is now divorced).

Photo of Carlos Castaneda

3. Carlos Castaneda (1925 - 1998)

With an HPI of 77.51, Carlos Castaneda is the 3rd most famous Peruvian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.

Carlos Castaneda (December 25, 1925 – April 27, 1998) was an American author. Starting with The Teachings of Don Juan in 1968, Castaneda wrote a series of books that describe his training in shamanism, particularly with a group whose lineage descended from the Toltecs. The books, narrated in the first person, relate his experiences under the tutelage of a man that Castaneda claimed was a Yaqui "Man of Knowledge" named don Juan Matus. His 12 books have sold more than 28 million copies in 17 languages. They have been found to be fiction, but supporters claim the books are either true or at least valuable works of philosophy. Castaneda withdrew from public view in 1973, living in a large house in Westwood, California from 1973 until his death in 1998, with three colleagues whom he called "Fellow Travellers of Awareness." He founded Cleargreen, an organization that promotes "tensegrity", which Castaneda described as the modern version of the "magical passes" of the shamans of ancient Mexico.

Photo of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega

4. Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (1539 - 1616)

With an HPI of 69.97, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega is the 4th most famous Peruvian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (12 April 1539 – 23 April 1616), born Gómez Suárez de Figueroa and known as El Inca, was a chronicler and writer born in the Viceroyalty of Peru. He is considered the earliest-recorded mestizo in the history of the Americas. Sailing to Spain at 21, he was educated informally there, where he lived and worked the rest of his life. The natural son of a Spanish conquistador and an Inca noblewoman born in the early years of the conquest, he is known primarily for his chronicles of Inca history, culture, and society. His work was widely read in Europe, influential and well received. It was the first literature by an author born in the Americas to enter the western canon.After his father's death in 1559, Vega moved to Spain in 1561, seeking official acknowledgement as his father's son. His paternal uncle became a protector, and he lived in Spain for the rest of his life, where he wrote his histories of the Inca culture and Spanish conquest, as well as an account of De Soto's expedition in Florida.

Photo of César Vallejo

5. César Vallejo (1892 - 1938)

With an HPI of 67.79, César Vallejo is the 5th most famous Peruvian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 45 different languages.

César Abraham Vallejo Mendoza (March 16, 1892 – April 15, 1938) was a Peruvian poet, writer, playwright, and journalist. Although he published only three books of poetry during his lifetime, he is considered one of the great poetic innovators of the 20th century in any language. He was always a step ahead of literary currents, and each of his books was distinct from the others, and, in its own sense, revolutionary. Thomas Merton called him "the greatest universal poet since Dante". The late British poet, critic and biographer Martin Seymour-Smith, a leading authority on world literature, called Vallejo "the greatest twentieth-century poet in any language." He was a member of the intellectual community called North Group formed in the Peruvian north coastal city of Trujillo. Clayton Eshleman and José Rubia Barcia's translation of The Complete Posthumous Poetry of César Vallejo won the National Book Award for translation in 1979.

Photo of Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala

6. Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala (1535 - 1615)

With an HPI of 65.82, Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala is the 6th most famous Peruvian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala (ca. 1535 – after 1616), also known as Huamán Poma or Wamán Poma, was a Quechua nobleman known for chronicling and denouncing the ill treatment of the natives of the Andes by the Spanish after their conquest. Today, Guamán Poma is noted for his illustrated chronicle, Nueva corónica y buen gobierno.

Photo of José Carlos Mariátegui

7. José Carlos Mariátegui (1894 - 1930)

With an HPI of 65.64, José Carlos Mariátegui is the 7th most famous Peruvian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.

José Carlos Mariátegui La Chira (14 June 1894 – 16 April 1930) was a Peruvian intellectual, journalist, activist and political philosopher. A prolific writer before his early death at the age of 35, he is considered one of the most influential Latin American socialists of the 20th century. Mariátegui's Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality (1928) is still widely read in Latin America, and called "one of the broadest, deepest, and most enduring works of the Latin American century". An avowed self-taught Marxist, he insisted that a socialist revolution should evolve organically in Latin America based on local conditions and practices, not the result of mechanically applying a European formula. Although best known as a political thinker, his literary writings have gained attention by scholars.

Photo of José María Arguedas

8. José María Arguedas (1911 - 1969)

With an HPI of 63.53, José María Arguedas is the 8th most famous Peruvian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.

José María Arguedas Altamirano (18 January 1911 – 2 December 1969) was a Peruvian novelist, poet, and anthropologist. Arguedas was an author of Spanish descent, fluent in the native Quechua language, gained by living in two Quechua households from the age of 7 to 11 - first in the indigenous servant quarters of his step-mother's home, then, escaping her "perverse and cruel" son, with an indigenous family approved by his father - who wrote novels, short stories, and poems in both Spanish and Quechua. Generally remembered as one of the most notable figures of 20th-century Peruvian literature, Arguedas is especially recognized for his intimate portrayals of indigenous Andean culture. Key in his desire to depict indigenous expression and perspective more authentically was his creation of a new language that blended Spanish and Quechua and premiered in his debut novel Yawar Fiesta. Despite a dearth of translations into English, the critic Martin Seymour-Smith has dubbed Arguedas "the greatest novelist of our time," who wrote "some of the most powerful prose that the world has known.",

Photo of Ricardo Palma

9. Ricardo Palma (1833 - 1919)

With an HPI of 63.48, Ricardo Palma is the 9th most famous Peruvian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Manuel Ricardo Palma Soriano (February 7, 1833 – October 6, 1919) was a Peruvian author, scholar, librarian and politician. His magnum opus is the Tradiciones peruanas.

Photo of Ciro Alegría

10. Ciro Alegría (1909 - 1967)

With an HPI of 60.65, Ciro Alegría is the 10th most famous Peruvian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Ciro Alegría Bazán (November 4, 1909 – February 17, 1967) was a Peruvian journalist, politician, and novelist.

Pantheon has 11 people classified as writers born between 1535 and 1965. Of these 11, 3 (27.27%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living writers include Mario Vargas Llosa, Isabel Allende, and Jaime Bayly. The most famous deceased writers include Carlos Castaneda, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, and César Vallejo. As of October 2020, 1 new writers have been added to Pantheon including José Carlos Mariátegui.

Living Writers

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Deceased Writers

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Newly Added Writers (2020)

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Which Writers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 6 most globally memorable Writers since 1700.