The Swedish Academy today skipped right over writers rumored to have a lock, and handed the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature to dark horse Mario Vargas Llosa. In awarding him the prize, the academy cited the Peruvian writer's "cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat." Vargas Llosa's name was nowhere to be heard among Nobel watchers, though the AP reports that many expected the committee, knocked in recent years as too euro-centric, to look further abroad in making its selection.
Vargas Llosa's breakthrough came in the 1960s with The Time of the Hero, a controversial book based on his experiences at a military school that was burned publicly. He's since gone on to pen more than 30 novels, plays, and essays and is widely regarded as a literary giant in the Spanish-speaking world. He returns the Nobel to Latin America for the first time since Gabriel Garcia Marquez won in 1982.