Photo: Daniele Devoti

Photo: Daniele Devoti

The Nobel Prize website has gone cutting edge, or at least modern. Visitors can, for instance, watch Nobel webcasts on a YouTube channel or Tweet greetings to the new Prize winners. And, as we learned in this very funny video* (inasmuch as economics can be very funny), Editor-in-Chief Adam Smith of the Nobel Prize website records and posts phone interviews with the winners shortly after they’re notified.

Here is an excerpt from this morning’s call with Mario Vargas Llosa, the 2010 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature:


Oh, hello, is that Mario Vargas Llosa?

Yes, speaking.

Oh, hello, my name is Adam Smith. I’m calling from the Nobel Prize website in Stockholm. My congratulations on the news of the award.

Well, so, is it true then? Ha ha!

Ha, ha! It most certainly …

Because, I received a call from the Secretary General of the Academy, and I was wonder if it was true or joke of a friend!

Well, I can confirm that it has just been announced to the public in Stockholm.

Ah, it has already been announced. Well, I’m deeply moved and grateful! It’s been a great surprise! Well, I don’t know what to say … I feel overwhelmed, really!

That’s a nice thing to say! You’ve been tipped for some years, so … what does it mean to be awarded the Prize, do you know?

Well, I know but I still don’t believe it, you know? I need to read it in the papers.

Of course, yes. Once it’s in literature, then it’s real.

To see the rest of the transcript, hear the audio or read a bio of Vargas Llosa, you can visit the Nobel site, where you can also check out the archive of calls with other winners. And for more on Vargas Llosa, who was a journalist before he was a novelist, read this 1989 New York Times Magazine profile by Gerry Marzorati, this Christian Science Monitor piece by Lucien Chauvin on why he’s been a controversial figure in Peru, or a cheat sheet from The Atlantic Wire listing five things you should know about him.

[Hat tip to the Browser, which first introduced us to this video, but which doesn’t provide a way to link directly to its featured videos.]

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