March 24: Alum speaks on Nobel winner Mario Vargas Llosa

By Peggy Perkins, Honors College

WilliamsPULLMAN, Wash. – “A Nobel Laureate’s Journey: Stockholm via Pullman,” about the life and works of Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa, will be presented by Washington State University alumnus Raymond L. Williams at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, in the Honors Hall Lounge at Washington State University.

The Honors College Distinguished Lecture is free to the public. In addition, Williams – who has 15 books to his credit – will be among those featured at Crimson Reads, a WSU Showcase celebration of authors, at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Terrell Library atrium.

“The Honors curriculum requires foreign language competency, and Dr. Williams has devoted his career to the Spanish language and culture,” said M. Grant Norton, dean of the Honors College. “So his talk on one of the top Latin American authors is on the mark for our students.”

Williams, a University of California-Riverside Distinguished Professor of Spanish, graduated from WSU in 1972 with a degree in liberal arts and a certificate from the honors program. Four years earlier, he had listened in class as Vargas Llosa, then a 32-year-old rising star of Latin American literature, delivered his first lecture in English on the campus in Pullman.

Forty-two years later, Williams attended ceremonies in Stockholm as Vargas Llosa received the Nobel Prize for literature. Himself an author, Williams published a book in 2014 on Vargas Llosa.

The distinguished lecture series began in 2013 to provide students and the community with opportunities to hear about the outstanding accomplishments of WSU faculty and alumni.

Williams has received several Fulbright fellowships to Colombia and was awarded the highest honor the Colombian government can bestow upon foreign citizens – the Order of San Carlos.

He is a specialist in modern Latin American literature with a focus on fiction published since 1944. His recent publications have been eco-critical approaches to modern Latin American fiction.

A native of Oregon City, Ore., Williams earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish at the University of Kansas. At WSU, he joined the Gamma Chapter of the national honorary Phi Beta Kappa. He joined the UC-Riverside faculty in 1997; he was also a professor at the University of Colorado, Washington University (St. Louis, Mo.), and the University of Chicago.


M. Grant Norton, WSU Honors College dean, 509-335-4505,
Peggy Perkins, WSU Honors College administrative manager, 509-335-4505,