STOCKHOLM – Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa won the 2010 Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday as the academy honored one of the Spanish-speaking world's most acclaimed authors and an outspoken political activist who once ran for president in his tumultuous homeland. Vargas Llosa, 74, has written more than 30 novels, plays and essays, including "Conversation in the Cathedral" and "The Green House." In 1995, he won the Cervantes Prize, the most distinguished literary honor in Spanish. Vargas Llosa is the first South American winner of the prestigious 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) Nobel Prize in literature since Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez won in 1982.
"I am very surprised, I did not expect this," Vargas Llosa told Spanish National Radio, adding he thought it was a joke when he received the call. "It had been years since my name was even mentioned," he added.