The Nobel Prize in Literature 1953
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill
Born: 30 November 1874, Woodstock, United Kingdom
Died: 24 January 1965, London, United Kingdom
Residence at the time of the award: United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values"
The Right Honourable Sir Winston Leonard
Spencer Churchill (1874-1965), the son of Lord Randolph
Churchill and an American mother, was educated at Harrow and
Sandhurst. After a brief but eventful career in the
army, he became a Conservative Member of Parliament in 1900. He
held many high posts in Liberal and Conservative governments
during the first three decades of the century. At the outbreak of
the Second World War, he was appointed First Lord of the
Admiralty - a post which he had earlier held from 1911 to 1915.
In May, 1940, he became Prime Minister and Minister of Defence
and remained in office until 1945. He took over the premiership
again in the Conservative victory of 1951 and resigned in 1955.
However, he remained a Member of Parliament until the general
election of 1964, when he did not seek re-election. Queen
Elizabeth II conferred on Churchill the dignity of Knighthood and
invested him with the insignia of the Order of the Garter in
1953. Among the other countless honours and decorations he
received, special mention should be made of the honorary
citizenship of the United States which President Kennedy
conferred on him in 1963.
Churchill's literary career began with campaign reports: The Story of the Malakand Field Force (1898) and The River War (1899), an account of the campaign in the Sudan and the Battle of Omdurman. In 1900, he published his only novel, Savrola, and, six years later, his first major work, the biography of his father, Lord Randolph Churchill. His other famous biography, the life of his great ancestor, the Duke of Marlborough, was published in four volumes between 1933 and 1938. Churchill's history of the First World War appeared in four volumes under the title of The World Crisis (1923-29); his memoirs of the Second World War ran to six volumes (1948-1953/54). After his retirement from office, Churchill wrote a History of the English-speaking Peoples (4 vols., 1956-58). His magnificent oratory survives in a dozen volumes of speeches, among them The Unrelenting Struggle (1942), The Dawn of Liberation (1945), and Victory (1946).
Churchill, a gifted amateur painter, wrote Painting as a Pastime (1948). An autobiographical account of his youth, My Early Life, appeared in 1930.
From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969
This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.
Winston Churchill died on January 24, 1965.
Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1953
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