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 2022

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2022 was awarded to Annie Ernaux “for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory.”
Annie Ernaux

Annie Ernaux

Credit: Annie Ernaux/ Photo: Catherine Hélie, Gallimard.

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

Explore prizes and laureates

Who wrote what?

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

Discover more

Doris Lessing talks about her early days as a writer – working on her first book ‘The Grass is Singing’ – and more.

Doris Lessing

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

© Nobel Media.

‘Sula’ is the hugely influential second novel from one of the most powerful literary forces of our time.

Toni Morrison speaking

Toni Morrison speaking at 'A Tribute to Chinua Achebe – 50 Years Anniversary of ‘Things Fall Apart.'

Photo: Angela Radulescu