Lists of Nobel Prizes and Laureates
Lists of Nobel Prizes and Laureates


The Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden.

Candidates for the 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature

4 January, 2016

All information concerning the nominations and selections of the Nobel Laureates is kept secret for 50 years.

90 Candidates Nominated

For the 1965 Literature Prize, the Nobel Committee received 120 valid nominations for 90 candidates, the highest number so far. Among the candidates were Shmuel Joseph Agnon, Jorge Luis Borges, W.H. Auden, Vladimir Nabokov and Pablo Neruda.

See all nominations for the 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature in the Nomination Archive database

Of the 90 candidates, 19 were new candidates. Among the new ones were the French author Marguerite Yourcenar and the British writer Alan Sillitoe.

The Nobel Committee's Report

The Nobel Committee for Literature this year wanted to draw attention to the possibility of dividing the prize into two parts. The proposals were that the 1965 Literature Prize should be shared between either

• Russian poet Anna Akhmatova and Michail Sholokhov; motivated by their writing in the same language,
Miguel Angel Asturias and Jorge Luis Borges; motivated by their writing in the same language, or
• Shmuel Joseph Agnon and Nelly Sachs, both representing the fate of the Jewish people.

Anders Österling, chairman of the Nobel Committee for Literature, wrote in his report that the committee had considered the three proposals and had come to the conclusion that neither of them could be considered entirely appropriate and advisable. Not as a principle, because dividing the Literature Prize could be legitimate in exceptional cases - such as two authors writing in the same language and within the same field, and whose respective merits could not be recognized without being obviously unfair to either author. What should always be avoided, Mr. Österling writes, is the impression of the Swedish Academy making an 'emergency compromise', and he reflects that such an impression unfortunately remains after two occasions - in 1904 and 1917 - when the prize was awarded in this way.

In the end, the Nobel Committee suggested three candidates for the 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature to the Swedish Academy:
1. Mikhail Sholokhov
2. Shmuel Joseph Agnon
3. W.H. Auden

At a committee meeting on 9 September 1965, the Nobel Committee members proposed unanimously Mikhail Sholokhov as their first name to the Swedish Academy. Their second and third names were Shmuel Joseph Agnon and W.H. Auden, with three committee members' reservations: Eyvind Johnson, Henry Olsson and Erik Lindegren instead proposed Miguel Angel Asturias as first name. Karl Ragnar Gierow proposed Shmuel Joseph Agnon as second name. Erik Lindegren proposed Nelly Sachs as third name.

1965 Nobel Prize in Literature

Mikhail Sholokhov was nominated for the first time in 1955, then in 1956, 1958 and 1961-1964, and was in the end awarded the 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature "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".

Presentation of the 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature at the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony

More facts

Nominated for the first time in 1965:
Anna Achmatova
Theodor W. Adorno
Alceu Amoroso Lima
Alejo Carpentier
Gilbert Cesbron
Sudhin N. Ghose
Gopal Singh
Giovanni Guareschi
Pierre-Jakez Helias
Muhammad Cali Jamalzadeh
Marie Luise Kaschnitz
Konstantin Paustovskij
Z. Rahnema
Wilhelm Röpke
Alan Sillitoe
Carl Erik Soya
Henri Troyat
Marguerite Yourcenar
Juan Antonio de Zunzunegui

Nominated by members of the Swedish Academy:
Miguel Angel Asturias - nominated by Erik Lindegren
Martin Buber - nominated by Ragnar Josephson
Martin Buber and Nelly Sachs - nominated by Henry Olsson
Gopal Singh - nominated by Karl Ragnar Gierow and Henrik Nyberg
Yasunari Kawabata - nominated by Harry Martinson
Jukio Mishima - nominated by Harry Martinson
Konstantin Paustovskij - nominated by Karl Ragnar Gierow
Aksel Sandemose - nominated by Eyvind Johnson
Junichiro Tanizaki - nominated by Harry Martinson
Simon Vestdijk - nominated by Karl Ragnar Gierow

Highest number of nominations for the 1966 Literature Prize:
André Malraux - 6 nominations
Ramón Menéndez Pidal - 5 nominations
Michail Solochov - 4 nominations
Louis Aragon - 3 nominations
Max Frisch - 3 nominations
Pablo Neruda - 3 nominations
Simon Vestdijk - 3 nominations

Search the Nomination Archive


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MLA style: "Candidates for the 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature". Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 25 Feb 2017. <>