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Oct 4, 2010

Nobel Prize Literature

Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa wins Nobel Prize in literature

Mario Vargas Llosa, the Peruvian writer and literary giant in the Spanish-speaking world, was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Academy announced Thursday. Vargas Llosa, 74, whose body of work includes more than 30 novels, essays and plays is the first South American writer to win the coveted prize since Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Colombian storyteller who is much better known than Vargas Llosa. Marquez won in 1982.  In part because of the spotlight Marquez drew to South American literature, Vargas Llosa's best-selling work has been widely translated in English, French, Swedish and German.

Like many Nobel laureates, Vargas Llosa has written works that his country's authorities didn't appreciate. "The Time of the Hero," released in 1963, described some of his harsh experiences in a military academy and the officials of the school burnt 1,000 copies.In their tribute to Vargas Llosa, the Swedish Academy cited a theme of "individual's resistance" in announcing the honor.  The prize was given, the officials said in a statement, "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt and defeat."

Some of his best-known works include "The Green House," "Conversation in the Cathedral," "Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter," "A Fish in the Water: a Memoir," "The Feast of the Goat" and "The Storyteller." He has been praised for his unblemished examination of hypocrisy, most often training an eye on Peruvian society. But he has also produced humorous work and detective stories.

Vargas Llosa, who was born in Arequipa, Peru, spent some of his early years in Bolivia but his family returned to Peru in 1946. Vargas Peter Englund, chairman of the Royal Swedish Academy, presents the Nobel Literature laureate in Stockholm. (AP) His ambitions to be a writer were opposed by his father, who sent him to the military school.Leaving Peru for a while, Vargas Llosa has also worked as a language teacher and journalist in France. When he returned, he became heavily involved in the country's politics and in 1990 became a candidate for president. He lost in a run-off election and, then returned to writing.  His other honors include winning the Cervantes Prize in 1995, the highest literary honor in the Spanish-speaking world.

Vargas Llosa is teaching this semester at Princeton University. The announcement continues the drought for American writers. No American has won the literature prize since novelist Toni Morrison in 1993.

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