Writer and political activist Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature Thursday for "his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat." He is the first South American writer to win the $1.5 million prize since Gabriel Garcia Marquez won in 1982. Llosa had been mentioned as a Nobel candidate for years, and his body of work has won many prestigious literary medals and been translated into 31 languages.
The once left-leaning political activist has since veered right and embraced free-market capitalism, once running for president in his homeland. He is an outspoken critic of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.
Llosa's first book was The Time of the Hero (1963), about his experiences at Leoncio Prado, a Peruvian military academy. The book won the Spanish Critics Award, but thousands of copies were burned by military authorities who claimed the book was a bunch of lies written by a communist.
Llosa, who became a Spanish citizen in 1993, has homes in Madrid, London, and Manhattan.