Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa won the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday, the Swedish Academy said.
Vargas Llosa won the prize "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individuals resistance, revolt, and defeat," the academy said.
"I am very grateful to have received this privilege," Vargas Llosa told CNN en Espanol.
"The truth is I did not expect it," he said in the televised interview. "It was a surprise ... but a pleasant surprise."
Vargas Llosa felt "very moved and enthused" by the prize, said Andina, the official Peruvian news agency, citing Peter Englund, president of the Nobel literature prize jury.
Vargas Llosa is in the United States, teaching two courses at Princeton University.
"He had gotten up at 5 a.m. to prepare for a class when he received our call at quarter to seven, while he was working intensively," Englund told Andina.
Vargas Llosa is one of Latin America's leading novelists and essayists. He rose to prominence in the 1960s. Some of his best known novels include "The Green House" and "The War of the End of the World."
The writer, 74, is the first Latino to be awarded the Nobel literature prize since Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez won in 1982. Mexican author Octavio Paz won in 1980 and Spaniard Camilo Jose Cela won the previous year.
Vargas Llosa has led a varied life as a writer, politician and intellectual. He ran for president of Peru in 1990, winning the first round of votes but losing to Alberto Fujimori in a run-off.
Vargas Llosa holds dual Peruvian and Spanish citizenship, having obtained the Spanish status in March 1993.
Vargas Llosa's award follows the announcements this week of the Nobel Prizes in medicine, physics and chemistry. The Nobel Peace laureate is expected to be announced Friday while the prize in economics will be announced Monday.
Last year's literature prize was awarded to Romanian-born Herta Mueller, who now lives in Germany. She was awarded for work that "depicts the landscape of the dispossessed," after years of persecution by the secret police for refusing to spy for her country and speaking out about oppression.
Vargas Llosa said he will accept the prize at the December 10 ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden.