The Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden.
2 January, 2015
All information concerning the nominations and selections of the Nobel Laureates is kept secret for 50 years.
For the the 1964 Literature Prize, the Nobel Committee received 98 valid nominations. Among the 76 candidates were Jean Anouilh, Jorge Luis Borges, Lawrence Durrell, Väinö Linna and Alberto Moravia.
See all nominations for the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature in the Nomination Archive database
Of the 76 candidates, 19 were new candidates. Among the new ones were Miguel Angel Asturias, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature three years later, in 1967, and Camilo José Cela, later awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize in Literature.
The Nobel Committee for Literature had six candidates considered most relevant this year:
• French author Jean-Paul Sartre
• Irish born author and playwright Samuel Beckett
• French dramatist Eugène Ionesco
• Japanese author Junichiro Tanizaki
• British poet W. H. Auden
• Russian author Mikhail Sholokhov.
Of these, the Nobel Committee in the end suggested two candidates for the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature to the Swedish Academy:
1. Jean-Paul Sartre
2. Mikhail Sholokhov
At a committee meeting on 17 September 1964, the Nobel Committee members proposed unanimously Jean-Paul Sartre as their first name to the Swedish Academy. Their second name was Mikhail Sholokhov, with two committee members' reservations: Karl Ragnar Gierow instead proposed Mikhail Sholokhov as first name and Jean-Paul Sartre as second. Committee member Eyvind Johnson proposed W. H. Auden as second name.
Secretary Mr. Österling wrote in his report that Sartre and Sholokhov both appeared as entirely desirable and from different viewpoints equivalent candidates, and if he should set Sartre in the first place, it would only be because his name appeared having a better chance to win the support from the Committee.
Mikhail Sholokhov was nominated every year 1947-1950. He was later awarded the 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Jean-Paul Sartre was nominated every year 1957-1964, and was in the end awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature "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". Jean-Paul Sartre declined the Nobel Prize, as he refused to accept all literary honours.
Announcement of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature