Peruvian author wins Nobel Prize
Mario Vargas Llosa, one of the most acclaimed South American writers, has won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 16:45 GMT
Vargas Llosa's international breakthrough came with the 1960s novel 'The Time of The Hero' [AFP]

Mario Vargas Llosa, a prolific Peruvian writer, has won the prestigious 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature.

In an official announcement on Thursday, the Swedish Academy, which awards the prize, said it was honouring the 74-year-old author "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt and defeat."

Vargas Llosa has written more than 30 novels, plays and essays, including "Conversation in the Cathedral" and "The Green House." His international breakthrough came with the 1960s novel "The Time of The Hero."

He has won a string of major literary awards and had often been tipped to win the Nobel Prize. In 1995, he was awarded the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's most distinguished literary honour.

"I was wondering if it was true or a joke or pretend," Vargas Llosa said in an interview posted on the Nobel Institute website.

"It's been a great surprise. I don't know what to say. I'm overwhelmed, really," he said. "I never knew it was true that my name was among the potential candidates."

Presidential candidate

Born in Arequipa, Peru, Vargas Llosa grew up with his mother and grandfather in the city of Cochabama in Bolivia before moving back to Peru in 1946.

Nobel Prize winners
2010:   Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru)
2009:   Herta Mueller (Germany)
2008:   Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio (France)
2007:   Doris Lessing (Britain)
2006:   Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)
2005:   Harold Pinter (Britain)
2004:   Elfriede Jelinek (Austria)
2003:   J.M. Coetzee (South Africa)
2002:   Imre Kertesz (Hungary)
2001:   V.S. Naipaul (Britain)
2000:   Gao Xingjian (France)

He then became a journalist, moving to France in 1959 where he worked as a language teacher and as a journalist for Agence France-Presse (AFP) as well as for French television before establishing his reputation as an author.

He has produced a string of bestsellers, many of which deal with political themes and the troubled history of Latin America.

He ran for the Peruvian presidency in 1990 for the centre-right, but was defeated by Alberto Fujimori, later to be disgraced after a string of political scandals. Disappointed by his defeat and upset at the dictatorial turn of Fujimori's 1990-2000 regime, Vargas Llosa took on Spanish nationality in 1993 - a controversial move that angered many Peruvians.

The following year he was elected to the Spain's Royal Academy of Language, the final authority in Spanish-language grammar and vocabulary.

Vargas Llosa is the first South American winner of the prestigious Nobel Prize in literature since it was awarded to Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 1982.

In the 10 last years, eight of the award winners have been Europeans.

Vargas Llosa will receive 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.49 million).

The Nobel Peace Prize, which is considered to be the most prestigious of all prizes, will be handed out in Oslo on December 10, while the other Nobel laureates will pick up their prizes in Stockholm on the same day.

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