GALLERY: Click the image to view photos of Tomas Transtromer and other 2011 Nobel Prize recipients.

Thursday morning marked a long-awaited milestone for Sweden and the country’s writers, as its most honored poet received the 2011 Nobel Prize in literature. Tomas Transtromer, 80, has been considered a favorite for the award for years — so much so that journalists waited outside his apartment in Stockholm before the announcement, the Associated Press reports.

He is the first Swede to be awarded the prize since 1974, when Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson shared it.

Peter Englund, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, which awards the prize, told reporters that Transtromer focuses on the big questions, those about death, history, memory and nature.

Transtromer’s surrealist works, which weave powerful images around his own experiences and probing questions, have earned him recognition as one of the masters of metaphor.

See a complete list of his works.

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