The 58-year-old is this year's winner of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. The honour was announced by sponsors the University of Oklahoma and its international magazine, World Literature Today.
Established in 1969, the award - often considered the "American Nobel" - is given every two years. Previous winners include Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Octavio Paz and Elizabeth Bishop.
Cuoto's books include the novels Sleepwalking Land and The Last Flight Of The Flamingo and a short story collection, Voices Made Night. He is the first author from Mozambique to win the Neustadt.