STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Facts about Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa, who won the Nobel prize for literature on Thursday:
* Vargas was born in Arequipa, Peru, on March 28, 1936, to a middle-class couple of Spanish heritage. He spent part of his childhood in Bolivia and later worked as a journalist before going to Spain to study literature.
* Vargas Llosa became a leading figure in the 1960s Latin American literary boom with a writing technique that involved moving back and forth in time and switching narrators. He wrote in many genres, including comedy, mystery, erotic, historical novel and literary criticism.
* Vargas Llosa once supported the Cuban revolution but in the 1970s cast aside his liberalism and denounced Fidel Castro’s communism. He backed free markets while expressing his faith in democracy and hatred for authoritarian regimes. Many fans and literary colleagues were outraged by his metamorphosis.
* Peru was suffering from rampant inflation, guerrilla violence and corruption when Vargas Llosa ran for president as a reform-minded, center-right candidate. He proposed budget-cutting and free-market policies, which appealed to wealthy conservatives but alarmed the poor. He lost to Alberto Fujimori, a university professor who later was accused of human rights crimes committed during his presidency.
* Vargas Llosa left some Peruvians disenchanted when he took Spanish citizenship and moved to Spain after losing the presidential election.
* Vargas Llosa and Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez once had a great friendship but it turned into one of literature’s greatest feuds. Vargas Llosa, who had written a laudatory analysis of Garcia Marquez’ work and had asked him to be godfather to his son, punched the Colombian at a theater in Mexico City, leaving him with a black eye. A witness said Vargas Llosa was upset that Garcia Marquez had consoled his wife during an estrangement.
* Several Vargas Llosa books were made into movies, including the 1990 Hollywood film “Tune in Tomorrow,” which starred Barbara Hershey, Peter Falk and Keanu Reeves and was based on his novel “Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter.”
* During autumn 2010 he is lecturing at Princeton University about the techniques of the novel.
Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Philip Barbara