Mario Vargas Llosa has an unusual background for a Nobel literature laureate. He was born in 1936. His parents sent him to the Leoncio Prado military academy in Peru, an experience that wrote about and which made him famous.
As a young man, Llosa studied law and literature in Latin America and Spain. The he moved to Paris, where he worked as a journalist.
In the mid-60s, he caught the attention of the world with his controversial novel The Time of the Hero. It drew on his experiences from the military academy, but sparked outrage among his former colleages. The officers burned a thousand copies.
In 1990, Llosa even ran for the Peruvian presidency for the right-wing alliance, but lost.
Swedish writer and critic Mikael Timm told Swedish Radio news that during the '80s, he and his colleagues had actually been prepared for Llosa to win, but now, the choice comes as a surprise.