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Collage: Kenzaburo Oe, Eyvind Johnson, Selma Lagerlöf, Elfriede Jelinek and Winston Churchill

All Nobel Prizes in Literature

The Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded 106 times to 110 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2013. Click on the links to get more information.

Alice Munro thumb picture
Alice Munro

"master of the contemporary short story"

Mo Yan thumb picture
Mo Yan

"who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary"

Tomas Tranströmer thumb picture
Tomas Tranströmer

"because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality"

Mario Vargas Llosa thumb picture
Mario Vargas Llosa

"for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat"

Herta Müller thumb picture
Herta Müller

"who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed"

Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio thumb picture
Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio

"author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization"

Doris Lessing thumb picture
Doris Lessing

"that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny"

Orhan Pamuk thumb picture
Orhan Pamuk

"who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures"

Harold Pinter thumb picture
Harold Pinter

"who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms"

Elfriede Jelinek thumb picture
Elfriede Jelinek

"for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power"

John M. Coetzee thumb picture
John M. Coetzee

"who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider"

Imre Kertész thumb picture
Imre Kertész

"for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history"

Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul thumb picture
Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul

"for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories"

Gao Xingjian thumb picture
Gao Xingjian

"for an æuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama"

Günter Grass thumb picture
Günter Grass

"whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history"

José Saramago thumb picture
José Saramago

"who with parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality"

Dario Fo thumb picture
Dario Fo

"who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden"

Wislawa Szymborska thumb picture
Wislawa Szymborska

"for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality"

Seamus Heaney thumb picture
Seamus Heaney

"for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past"

Kenzaburo Oe thumb picture
Kenzaburo Oe

"who with poetic force creates an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today"

Toni Morrison thumb picture
Toni Morrison

"who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality"

Derek Walcott thumb picture
Derek Walcott

"for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment"

Nadine Gordimer thumb picture
Nadine Gordimer

"who through her magnificent epic writing has - in the words of Alfred Nobel - been of very great benefit to humanity"

Octavio Paz thumb picture
Octavio Paz

"for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity"

Camilo José Cela thumb picture
Camilo José Cela

"for a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man's vulnerability"

Naguib Mahfouz thumb picture
Naguib Mahfouz

"who, through works rich in nuance - now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous - has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind"

Joseph Brodsky thumb picture
Joseph Brodsky

"for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity"

Wole Soyinka thumb picture
Wole Soyinka

"who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence"

Claude Simon thumb picture
Claude Simon

"who in his novel combines the poet's and the painter's creativeness with a deepened awareness of time in the depiction of the human condition"

Jaroslav Seifert thumb picture
Jaroslav Seifert

"for his poetry which endowed with freshness, sensuality and rich inventiveness provides a liberating image of the indomitable spirit and versatility of man"

William Golding thumb picture
William Golding

"for his novels which, with the perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world of today"

Gabriel García Márquez thumb picture
Gabriel García Márquez

"for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts"

Elias Canetti thumb picture
Elias Canetti

"for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power"

Czeslaw Milosz thumb picture
Czeslaw Milosz

"who with uncompromising clear-sightedness voices man's exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts"

Odysseus Elytis thumb picture
Odysseus Elytis

"for his poetry, which, against the background of Greek tradition, depicts with sensuous strength and intellectual clear-sightedness modern man's struggle for freedom and creativeness"

Isaac Bashevis Singer thumb picture
Isaac Bashevis Singer

"for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life"

Vicente Aleixandre thumb picture
Vicente Aleixandre

"for a creative poetic writing which illuminates man's condition in the cosmos and in present-day society, at the same time representing the great renewal of the traditions of Spanish poetry between the wars"

Saul Bellow thumb picture
Saul Bellow

"for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work"

Eugenio Montale thumb picture
Eugenio Montale

"for his distinctive poetry which, with great artistic sensitivity, has interpreted human values under the sign of an outlook on life with no illusions"

Eyvind Johnson thumb picture
Eyvind Johnson

"for a narrative art, far-seeing in lands and ages, in the service of freedom"

Harry Martinson thumb picture
Harry Martinson

"for writings that catch the dewdrop and reflect the cosmos"

Patrick White thumb picture
Patrick White

"for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature"

Heinrich Böll thumb picture
Heinrich Böll

"for his writing which through its combination of a broad perspective on his time and a sensitive skill in characterization has contributed to a renewal of German literature"

Pablo Neruda thumb picture
Pablo Neruda

"for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent's destiny and dreams"

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn thumb picture
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

"for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature"

Samuel Beckett thumb picture
Samuel Beckett

"for his writing, which - in new forms for the novel and drama - in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation"

Yasunari Kawabata thumb picture
Yasunari Kawabata

"for his narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind"

Miguel Angel Asturias thumb picture
Miguel Angel Asturias

"for his vivid literary achievement, deep-rooted in the national traits and traditions of Indian peoples of Latin America"

Shmuel Yosef Agnon thumb picture
Shmuel Yosef Agnon

"for his profoundly characteristic narrative art with motifs from the life of the Jewish people"

Nelly Sachs thumb picture
Nelly Sachs

"for her outstanding lyrical and dramatic writing, which interprets Israel's destiny with touching strength"

Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov thumb picture
Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov

"for the artistic power and integrity with which, in his epic of the Don, he has given expression to a historic phase in the life of the Russian people"

Jean-Paul Sartre thumb picture
Jean-Paul Sartre

"for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth, has exerted a far-reaching influence on our age"

Giorgos Seferis thumb picture
Giorgos Seferis

"for his eminent lyrical writing, inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture"

John Steinbeck thumb picture
John Steinbeck

"for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception"

Ivo Andric thumb picture
Ivo Andric

"for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country"

Saint-John Perse thumb picture
Saint-John Perse

"for the soaring flight and the evocative imagery of his poetry which in a visionary fashion reflects the conditions of our time"

Salvatore Quasimodo thumb picture
Salvatore Quasimodo

"for his lyrical poetry, which with classical fire expresses the tragic experience of life in our own times"

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak thumb picture
Boris Leonidovich Pasternak

"for his important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition"

Albert Camus thumb picture
Albert Camus

"for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times"

Juan Ramón Jiménez thumb picture
Juan Ramón Jiménez

"for his lyrical poetry, which in Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistical purity"

Halldór Kiljan Laxness thumb picture
Halldór Kiljan Laxness

"for his vivid epic power which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland"

Ernest Miller Hemingway thumb picture
Ernest Miller Hemingway

"for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style"

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill thumb picture
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill

"for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values"

François Mauriac thumb picture
François Mauriac

"for the deep spiritual insight and the artistic intensity with which he has in his novels penetrated the drama of human life"

Pär Fabian Lagerkvist thumb picture
Pär Fabian Lagerkvist

"for the artistic vigour and true independence of mind with which he endeavours in his poetry to find answers to the eternal questions confronting mankind"

Earl (Bertrand Arthur William) Russell thumb picture
Earl (Bertrand Arthur William) Russell

"in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought"

William Faulkner thumb picture
William Faulkner

"for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel"

Thomas Stearns Eliot thumb picture
Thomas Stearns Eliot

"for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry"

André Paul Guillaume Gide thumb picture
André Paul Guillaume Gide

"for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight"

Hermann Hesse thumb picture
Hermann Hesse

"for his inspired writings which, while growing in boldness and penetration, exemplify the classical humanitarian ideals and high qualities of style"

Gabriela Mistral thumb picture
Gabriela Mistral

"for her lyric poetry which, inspired by powerful emotions, has made her name a symbol of the idealistic aspirations of the entire Latin American world"

Johannes Vilhelm Jensen thumb picture
Johannes Vilhelm Jensen

"for the rare strength and fertility of his poetic imagination with which is combined an intellectual curiosity of wide scope and a bold, freshly creative style"

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1943

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1942

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1941

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1940

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

Frans Eemil Sillanpää thumb picture
Frans Eemil Sillanpää

"for his deep understanding of his country's peasantry and the exquisite art with which he has portrayed their way of life and their relationship with Nature"

Pearl Buck thumb picture
Pearl Buck

"for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces"

Roger Martin du Gard thumb picture
Roger Martin du Gard

"for the artistic power and truth with which he has depicted human conflict as well as some fundamental aspects of contemporary life in his novel-cycle Les Thibault"

Eugene Gladstone O'Neill thumb picture
Eugene Gladstone O'Neill

"for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy"

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1935

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.

Luigi Pirandello thumb picture
Luigi Pirandello

"for his bold and ingenious revival of dramatic and scenic art"

Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin thumb picture
Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin

"for the strict artistry with which he has carried on the classical Russian traditions in prose writing"

John Galsworthy thumb picture
John Galsworthy

"for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in The Forsyte Saga"

Erik Axel Karlfeldt thumb picture
Erik Axel Karlfeldt

"The poetry of Erik Axel Karlfeldt"

Sinclair Lewis thumb picture
Sinclair Lewis

"for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters"

Thomas Mann thumb picture
Thomas Mann

"principally for his great novel, Buddenbrooks, which has won steadily increased recognition as one of the classic works of contemporary literature"

Sigrid Undset thumb picture
Sigrid Undset

"principally for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages"

Henri Bergson thumb picture
Henri Bergson

"in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented"

Grazia Deledda thumb picture
Grazia Deledda

"for her idealistically inspired writings which with plastic clarity picture the life on her native island and with depth and sympathy deal with human problems in general"

George Bernard Shaw thumb picture
George Bernard Shaw

"for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty"

Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont thumb picture
Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont

"for his great national epic, The Peasants"

William Butler Yeats thumb picture
William Butler Yeats

"for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation"

Jacinto Benavente thumb picture
Jacinto Benavente

"for the happy manner in which he has continued the illustrious traditions of the Spanish drama"

Anatole France thumb picture
Anatole France

"in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements, characterized as they are by a nobility of style, a profound human sympathy, grace, and a true Gallic temperament"

Knut Pedersen Hamsun thumb picture
Knut Pedersen Hamsun

"for his monumental work, Growth of the Soil"

Carl Friedrich Georg Spitteler thumb picture
Carl Friedrich Georg Spitteler

"in special appreciation of his epic, Olympian Spring"

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1918

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section.

Karl Adolph Gjellerup thumb picture
Karl Adolph Gjellerup

"for his varied and rich poetry, which is inspired by lofty ideals"

Henrik Pontoppidan thumb picture
Henrik Pontoppidan

"for his authentic descriptions of present-day life in Denmark"

Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam thumb picture
Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam

"in recognition of his significance as the leading representative of a new era in our literature"

Romain Rolland thumb picture
Romain Rolland

"as a tribute to the lofty idealism of his literary production and to the sympathy and love of truth with which he has described different types of human beings"

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1914

No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section.

Rabindranath Tagore thumb picture
Rabindranath Tagore

"because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West"

Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann thumb picture
Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann

"primarily in recognition of his fruitful, varied and outstanding production in the realm of dramatic art"

Count Maurice (Mooris) Polidore Marie Bernhard Maeterlinck thumb picture
Count Maurice (Mooris) Polidore Marie Bernhard Maeterlinck

"in appreciation of his many-sided literary activities, and especially of his dramatic works, which are distinguished by a wealth of imagination and by a poetic fancy, which reveals, sometimes in the guise of a fairy tale, a deep inspiration, while in a mysterious way they appeal to the readers' own feelings and stimulate their imaginations"

Paul Johann Ludwig Heyse thumb picture
Paul Johann Ludwig Heyse

"as a tribute to the consummate artistry, permeated with idealism, which he has demonstrated during his long productive career as a lyric poet, dramatist, novelist and writer of world-renowned short stories"

Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf thumb picture
Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf

"in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings"

Rudolf Christoph Eucken thumb picture
Rudolf Christoph Eucken

"in recognition of his earnest search for truth, his penetrating power of thought, his wide range of vision, and the warmth and strength in presentation with which in his numerous works he has vindicated and developed an idealistic philosophy of life"

Rudyard Kipling thumb picture
Rudyard Kipling

"in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author"

Giosuè Carducci thumb picture
Giosuè Carducci

"not only in consideration of his deep learning and critical research, but above all as a tribute to the creative energy, freshness of style, and lyrical force which characterize his poetic masterpieces"

Henryk Sienkiewicz thumb picture
Henryk Sienkiewicz

"because of his outstanding merits as an epic writer"

Frédéric Mistral thumb picture
Frédéric Mistral

"in recognition of the fresh originality and true inspiration of his poetic production, which faithfully reflects the natural scenery and native spirit of his people, and, in addition, his significant work as a Provençal philologist"

José Echegaray y Eizaguirre thumb picture
José Echegaray y Eizaguirre

"in recognition of the numerous and brilliant compositions which, in an individual and original manner, have revived the great traditions of the Spanish drama"

Bjørnstjerne Martinus Bjørnson thumb picture
Bjørnstjerne Martinus Bjørnson

"as a tribute to his noble, magnificent and versatile poetry, which has always been distinguished by both the freshness of its inspiration and the rare purity of its spirit"

Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen thumb picture
Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen

"the greatest living master of the art of historical writing, with special reference to his monumental work, A history of Rome"

Sully Prudhomme thumb picture
Sully Prudhomme

"in special recognition of his poetic composition, which gives evidence of lofty idealism, artistic perfection and a rare combination of the qualities of both heart and intellect"

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