Nobel Prize in Literature


October 18, 2021

The Nobel Prize for Literature is one of the five original Nobel Prizes and is the most prestigious literary prize in the world. It has been awarded by the Swedish Academy to deserving writers since 1901. According to Alfred Nobel’s will, a literary prize should reward works with an “ideal tendency”. The prize will be awarded in early October. In addition to the medal, the person selected as the recipient of the award will receive a substantial amount of money, which in 2009 was approximately one million euros.


In a will written in 1895, the Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel ordered that most of his property be used after his death to establish five prizes “for those who have benefited mankind the most in the previous year”. One of these was the Literary Prize, which was awarded by the will to the Swedish Academy.

Selection process

Every year, the Swedish Academy asks numerous bodies to nominate suitable Nobel candidates. Candidates can be nominated by members of the Swedish Academy, members of literary academies and similar foundations in other countries, Nobel Prize winners in literature, professors of literature and linguistics, and chairmen of writers' associations. Proposals must be received by February 1. The Nobel Committee of the Academy will review the proposed authors, which are typically around 120-150, and will begin to reduce the list until there are five candidates left. All 18 members of the Swedish Academy will go through these candidates and decide the winner, which will be announced in October.


Winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature will receive a gold medal, a diploma with a text quote, and a sum of money that depends on the income of the Nobel Foundation. In 2017, the prize money was SEK 9 million (approximately EUR 944,000). The Nobel Medal in Literature depicts a young man sitting under a laurel tree listening to and writing a muse song. The medal is engraved with the Latin text Inventas vitam juvat excoluisse per Artes. Freely translated, the scripture means, "Those who improved their lives on Earth with their skills." The words are quoted from verse 663 of the sixth song in Virgil's Aeneis. The medal was designed by Erik Lindberg.


By 2020, the Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded 113 times to 117 people, 16 of whom are women. Fourth, the award is shared between two authors. No writer has received the award more than once. Literary prizes were not awarded in 1914, 1918, 1935 or during World War II in 1940–1943. The 2018 prize was not awarded until 2019 due to the crisis at the Swedish Academy. Under this, authors unknown to the general public have been awarded for several years and well-known names and favorites have been ignored accordingly. Among other things, the award of the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill for his memoirs in 1953 raised doubts about the politics of the election. The Academy has also been criticized for, among other things, being European and favoring Nordic writers. The Literature Prize of 1949 was awarded to William Faulkner of the United States only the following year. The journal of the Soviet Writers 'Union Literaturnaja gazeta considered Pasternak's rewarding an act hostile to the Soviet Union, and Pasternak was expelled from the Writers' Union. Pasternak then announced that he would decline the award. The 1970 prize was also awarded to Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a Soviet Union who was already banned from publishing in his home country at the time, and who had depicted in his works the atmosphere of Stalin's rule and the terror of that time. Solzhenitsyn was deported Ne

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