The 2012 Nobel Prize for literature has been awarded to Chinese writer Mo Yan.
The Swedish Academy in Stockholm praised Mo's "hallucinatoric realism" as it announced the prize on October 11.
"The Nobel Prize in literature for 2012 is awarded to the Chinese writer Mo Yan, who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history, and the contemporary," Peter Englund, the academy's permanent secretary, said.
Englund said the academy had contacted Mo before the announcement and that Mo said he was "overjoyed and scared."
Mo, 57, is the first Chinese national to win the Nobel literature prize.
As with the other Nobel prizes, the award is worth the equivalent of $1.2 million.
Mo gained fame with his novel "Red Sorghum," published in 1987. The novel is a tale of love and peasant struggles set against the backdrop of the anti-Japanese war.
It was turned into a film that won the top prize at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1988.
Mo's latest novel, "Frogs," published in China in 2009, criticizes the Chinese government's one-child family-planning policy.
Mo Yan is a pen name that means "don't speak" in Chinese. His given name is Guan Moye.
European authors had won four of the past five prizes for literature, with last year's prize going to Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer.
Earlier this week, U.S. researchers Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka were awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry, French and U.S. scientists Serge Haroche and David Wineland were awarded the prize in physics, and the medicine prize went to John Gurdon of Britain and Japan's Shinya Yamanaka.
The Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on October 12.
The prestigious prizes will be handed out on December 10, the 116th anniversary of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa