Vargas Llosa wins Nobel literature prize
Thursday 07 October 2010
Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa, one of the most acclaimed writers in the Spanish-speaking world, won the Nobel Prize for literature today.
The Swedish Academy said it honoured 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." In 1995, he was awarded the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's most distinguished literary honour.
His international breakthrough came with the 1960s novel "The Time of The Hero."
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.
The academy's permanent secretary Peter Englund said Vargas Llosa "is a divinely gifted story-teller," whose writing touches the reader. "He is one of the big authors in the Spanish-speaking world," he said.
In the previous six years, the academy rewarded five Europeans and one Turk, sparking criticism that it was too euro-centric. Last year's award went to German writer Herta Mueller.
Mr Englund said Vargas Llosa was in New York when was told he had won the prize. He is teaching at Princeton University in New Jersey.
"He was very, very happy" Mr Englund said. "And very moved."
Born in Arequipa, Peru, Vargas Llosa grew up with his grandparents in Bolivia after his parents divorced. The family moved back to Peru in 1946 and he later went to military school before studying literature and law in Lima and Madrid.
In 1959, he moved to Paris where he worked as a language teacher and as a journalist for Agence France-Presse and the national television service of France.
He has lectured and taught at a number of universities in the US, South America and Europe.
In 1990, he ran for the presidency but lost the election to Alberto Fujimori. In 1994 he was the first Latin American writer to be elected to the Spanish Academy, where he took his seat in 1996.
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