The Nobel Prize in Literature

1966 literature laureate Nelly Sachs' amethyst stones inspired her writing by giving her feeling of safety and comfort.

© Nobel Media. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

About the prize

“The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: /- – -/ one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction …” (Excerpt from the will of Alfred Nobel)

Alfred Nobel had broad cultural interests. During his early youth, he developed his literary interests which lasted throughout his life. His library consisted of a rich and broad selection of literature in different languages. During the last years of his life, he tried his hand as an author and began writing fiction. Literature was the fourth prize area Nobel mentioned in his will.

The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded by the Swedish Academy, Stockholm, Sweden.

See all literature laureates or learn about the nomination process.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2023

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2023 is awarded to the Norwegian author Jon Fosse, “for his innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable.”

His immense oeuvre written in Norwegian Nynorsk and spanning a variety of genres consists of a wealth of plays, novels, poetry collections, essays, children’s books and translations. While he is today one of the most widely performed playwrights in the world, he has also become increasingly recognised for his prose.
Jon Fosse

Ill. Niklas Elmehed © Nobel Prize Outreach

One-minute crash course

Nobel Prize in Literature 2023

The works of Jon Fosse

Have you ever heard of writer Jon Fosse? Fosse is one of the most widely performed playwrights of our era, but his novels have also attracted a great deal of international attention.

Have you read?

Book tips

Nobel Prize in Literature 2023
Want to get started with 2023 literature laureate Jon Fosse, but don’t know which book to pick up first? Here, Anders Olsson, Chairman of the The Nobel Committee for Literature gives his recommendations.
Books by Jon Fosse

Photo: Claire Eriksson. © Nobel Prize Outreach

Literature prize Q&A

Can I be nominated? What criteria do you use? Is there an age limit?

Ellen Mattson, who helps to decide the Nobel Prize in Literature, answers your questions about the literature prize.
Ellen Mattsson

Writer Ellen Mattson

Photographer: Rickard L Eriksson

Book excerpts

On, you can find excerpts from many of the literature laureates’ literary works such as Olga Tokarczuk’s book Flights, Gabriel García Márquez’s novel One Hundred Years of Solitude and Wisława Szymborska’s poem ‘The Three Oddest Words’.Enjoy some excerpts from books or poems written by literature laureates. Discover all the excerpts here.


© Nobel Media. Photo: A. Mahmoud

Who wrote what?

Explore prizes and laureates

Questions and answers

Hundreds or thousands of nominations are received every year from members of academies, university professors, scientists, previous Nobel Prize laureates, members of parliamentary assemblies and more.  

Find answers to the most commonly asked questions about nominations in the FAQ.
Door at the Swedish Academy

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn's LP record was a gift to Stig Fredriksson, who had helped smuggle his Nobel Lecture out of the Soviet Union.

© Nobel Media. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

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Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing at her home in London, 14 April 2008.

© Nobel Media.

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Photo: Angela Radulescu