Blog post

Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa to publish novel based on Roger Casement

Tamar Shlaim19 October 2010

Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature last week has written a novel based on the fascinating and controversial life of Roger Casement, to be published in Spanish on 2nd November.

Casement's story is staggering. Born in Dublin to a Protestant father and a Roman Catholic mother, he went on to become British consul in the Congo, where he was commissioned by the British government to examine forced labour in the Congo Free State. His report on the atrocities he witnessed contributed to Leopold II of Belgium's relinquishment of his colonial fiefdom.

A few years later, he travelled to Iquitos in northern Peru, from where he embarked on a similar investigation into the treatment of the Putumayo Indians by the Peruvian Amazon Company. After the publication of his findings, the British board of the company resigned.

Visit the Guardian to read the full article.

For the full story of Roger Casement's discovery of a shocking regime of torture and exploitation, under which 30, 000 Indians died to produce 4,000 tons of rubber, and the subsequent controversy, see Jordan Goodman's The Devil and Mr Casement: One Man's Struggle for Human Rights in South America's Heart of Darkness.

Jordan Goodman will be speaking about the book at Bookmarks on Wednesday 8th December at 6.30pm.