Roncagliolo was born in Lima, and his family temporarily left Peru for political reasons in 1977. His novel Pudor (2005) was made into a film and his political thriller Abril rojo received the Alfaguara Prize in 2006 and is published in English as Red April (2010). Memorias de una dama (2009), tracing the origins of the Mafia in Cuba, was censored and its publication is prohibited throughout the entire world. His latest novel La Pena Máxima (2014), is set in the 78 World Cup during the Argentinian dictatorship. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. In 2010, he was chosen as one of Granta‘s Best Young Spanish Language Novelists.