The Swedish Academy is responsible for the selection of the Nobel Laureates in Literature, and has 18 members. The Nobel Committee for Literature is the working body that evaluates the nominations and presents its recommendations to the Swedish Academy, and comprises four to five members.
The candidates eligible for the Literature Prize are those nominated by qualified persons who have received an invitation from the Nobel Committee to submit names for consideration. Other persons who are qualified to nominate but have not received invitations may also submit nominations. No one can nominate himself or herself.
Below is a brief description of the process involved in choosing the Nobel Laureates in Literature.
September – Nomination forms are sent out. The Nobel Committee sends out invitation letters to 600-700 individuals and organizations qualified to nominate for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
February – Deadline for submission. The completed forms must reach the Nobel Committee not later than 31 January of the following year. The Committee then screens the nominations and submits a list for approval by the Academy.
April – Preliminary candidates. After further studies, the Committee selects 15–20 names for consideration as preliminary candidates by the Academy.
May – Final candidates. The Committee whittles down the list to five priority candidates to be considered by the Academy.
June-August – Reading of productions. The members of the Academy read and assess the work of the final candidates during the summer. The Nobel Committee also prepares individual reports.
September – Academy members confer. Having read the work of the final candidates, members of the Academy discuss the merits of the different candidates' contribution.
October – Nobel Laureates are chosen. In early October, the Academy chooses the Nobel Laureate in Literature. A candidate must receive more than half of the votes cast. The Nobel Laureates names are then announced.
December – Nobel Laureates receive their prize. The Nobel Prize Award Ceremony takes place on 10 December in Stockholm, where the Nobel Laureates receive their Nobel Prize, which consists of a Nobel Medal and Diploma, and a document confirming the prize amount.
The statutes of the Nobel Foundation restrict disclosure of information about the nominations, whether publicly or privately, for 50 years. The restriction concerns the nominees and nominators, as well as investigations and opinions related to the award of a prize.