List of Nobel laureates in Literature

List of Nobel laureates in Literature
Horace Engdahl, the former permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, announcing that Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature

The Nobel Prize in Literature (Swedish: Nobelpriset i litteratur) is awarded annually by the Swedish Academy to authors for outstanding contributions in the field of literature. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the 1895 will of Alfred Nobel, which are awarded for outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics, literature, peace, and physiology or medicine.[1] As dictated by Nobel's will, the award is administered by the Nobel Foundation and awarded by a committee that consists of five members elected by the Swedish Academy.[2] The first Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded in 1901 to Sully Prudhomme of France. Each recipient receives a medal, a diploma and a monetary award prize that has varied throughout the years.[3] In 1901, Prudhomme received 150,782 SEK, which is equivalent to 7,731,004 SEK in December 2007. In 2008, the prize was awarded to Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio of France, who was awarded the prize amount of 10,000,000 SEK.[4] The award is presented in Stockholm at an annual ceremony on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death.[5]

As of 2011, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to 108 individuals.[6] When he received the award in 1958, Russian-born Boris Pasternak was forced to decline it under pressure from the government of the Soviet Union. In 1964, Jean-Paul Sartre refused to accept the Nobel Prize in Literature, as he had consistently refused all official honors in the past.[7] Twelve women have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, more than any other Nobel Prize with the exception of the Nobel Peace Prize.[8] Among all the years the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded, there have been only four instances in which the award was given to two individuals (1904, 1917, 1966, 1974). There have been seven years in which the Nobel Prize in Literature was not awarded (1914, 1918, 1935, 1940–1943).[6]


Year Laureate Country[A] Language Rationale
1901 Sully-Prudhomme.jpg Sully Prudhomme France French "in special recognition of his poetic composition, which gives evidence of lofty idealism, artistic perfection and a rare combination of the qualities of both heart and intellect"[9]
1902 T-mommsen-2.jpg Theodor Mommsen Germany German "the greatest living master of the art of historical writing, with special reference to his monumental work, A History of Rome"[10]
1903 Björnstjerne Björnson, 1901.jpg Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson Norway Norwegian "as a tribute to his noble, magnificent and versatile poetry, which has always been distinguished by both the freshness of its inspiration and the rare purity of its spirit"[11]
1904 Frédéric Mistral by Paul Saïn.jpg Frédéric Mistral France Occitan "in recognition of the fresh originality and true inspiration of his poetic production, which faithfully reflects the natural scenery and native spirit of his people, and, in addition, his significant work as a Provençal philologist"[12]
José Echegaray y Eizaguirre.jpg José Echegaray Spain Spanish "in recognition of the numerous and brilliant compositions which, in an individual and original manner, have revived the great traditions of the Spanish drama"[12]
1905 Henryk Sienkiewicz 02.jpg Henryk Sienkiewicz Poland Polish "because of his outstanding merits as an epic writer"[13]
1906 Carducci.jpg Giosuè Carducci Italy Italian "not only in consideration of his deep learning and critical research, but above all as a tribute to the creative energy, freshness of style, and lyrical force which characterize his poetic masterpieces"[14]
1907 Kiplingcropped.jpg Rudyard Kipling United Kingdom English "in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author"[15]
1908 Rudolf Christoph Eucken.jpg Rudolf Christoph Eucken Germany German "in recognition of his earnest search for truth, his penetrating power of thought, his wide range of vision, and the warmth and strength in presentation with which in his numerous works he has vindicated and developed an idealistic philosophy of life"[16]
1909 Selma Lagerlöf.jpg Selma Lagerlöf Sweden Swedish "in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings"[17]
1910 Adolf Friedrich Erdmann von Menzel 042.jpg Paul von Heyse Germany German "as a tribute to the consummate artistry, permeated with idealism, which he has demonstrated during his long productive career as a lyric poet, dramatist, novelist and writer of world-renowned short stories"[18]
1911 Maurice Maeterlinck.jpg Maurice Maeterlinck Belgium French "in appreciation of his many-sided literary activities, and especially of his dramatic works, which are distinguished by a wealth of imagination and by a poetic fancy, which reveals, sometimes in the guise of a fairy tale, a deep inspiration, while in a mysterious way they appeal to the readers' own feelings and stimulate their imaginations"[19]
1912 G Hauptmann.jpg Gerhart Hauptmann Germany German "primarily in recognition of his fruitful, varied and outstanding production in the realm of dramatic art"[20]
1913 Tagore3.jpg Rabindranath Tagore India Bengali "because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West"[21]
1914 Not awarded
1915 Romain Rolland 1915.jpg Romain Rolland France French "as a tribute to the lofty idealism of his literary production and to the sympathy and love of truth with which he has described different types of human beings"[22]
1916 Johan Krouthén - Porträtt av Verner von Heidenstam.jpg Verner von Heidenstam Sweden Swedish "in recognition of his significance as the leading representative of a new era in our literature"[23]
1917 Karl Gjellerup.jpg Karl Adolph Gjellerup Denmark Danish "for his varied and rich poetry, which is inspired by lofty ideals"[24]
Henrik Pontoppidan.jpg Henrik Pontoppidan Denmark Danish "for his authentic descriptions of present-day life in Denmark"[24]
1918 Not awarded
1919 Carl spitteler 1905.jpg Carl Spitteler Switzerland German "in special appreciation of his epic, Olympian Spring"[25]
1920 Knut Hamsun.jpeg Knut Hamsun Norway Norwegian "for his monumental work, Growth of the Soil"[26]
1921 AnatoleFrance.JPG Anatole France France French "in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements, characterized as they are by a nobility of style, a profound human sympathy, grace, and a true Gallic temperament"[27]
1922 Jacinto Benavente y Martinez.jpg Jacinto Benavente Spain Spanish "for the happy manner in which he has continued the illustrious traditions of the Spanish drama"[28]
1923 William Butler Yeat by George Charles Beresford.jpg William Butler Yeats Ireland English "for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation"[29]
1924 Władysław Reymont.jpg Władysław Reymont Poland Polish "for his great national epic, The Peasants"[30]
1925 George bernard shaw.jpg George Bernard Shaw Ireland English "for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty"[31]
1926 Grazia Deledda 1926.jpg Grazia Deledda Italy Italian "for her idealistically inspired writings which with plastic clarity picture the life on her native island and with depth and sympathy deal with human problems in general"[32]
1927 Bergson-Nobel-photo.jpg Henri Bergson France French "in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented"[33]
1928 Sigrid Undset crop.jpg Sigrid Undset Norway Norwegian "principally for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages"[34]
1929 Thomas Mann 1937.jpg Thomas Mann Germany German "principally for his great novel, Buddenbrooks, which has won steadily increased recognition as one of the classic works of contemporary literature"[35]
1930 Sinclair Lewis 1930.jpg Sinclair Lewis United States English "for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters"[36]
1931 Erik Axel Karlfeldt.jpg Erik Axel Karlfeldt Sweden Swedish "The poetry of Erik Axel Karlfeldt"[37]
1932 John galsworthy.jpg John Galsworthy United Kingdom English "for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in The Forsyte Saga"[38]
1933 Ivan Bunin 1933.jpg Ivan Bunin Russia
Russian "for the strict artistry with which he has carried on the classical Russian traditions in prose writing"[39]
1934 Luigi Pirandello.jpg Luigi Pirandello Italy Italian "for his bold and ingenious revival of dramatic and scenic art"[40]
1935 Not awarded
1936 Eugene O'Neill 1936.jpg Eugene O'Neill United States English "for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy"[41]
1937 Roger Martin du Gard 1937.jpg Roger Martin du Gard France French "for the artistic power and truth with which he has depicted human conflict as well as some fundamental aspects of contemporary life in his novel cycle Les Thibault"[42]
1938 Pearl Buck.jpg Pearl S. Buck United States English "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces"[43]
1939 FransEemilSillanpää.jpg Frans Eemil Sillanpää Finland Finnish "for his deep understanding of his country's peasantry and the exquisite art with which he has portrayed their way of life and their relationship with Nature"[44]
1940 Not awarded
1941 Not awarded
1942 Not awarded
1943 Not awarded
1944 Johannes Vilhelm Jensen 1944.jpg Johannes Vilhelm Jensen Denmark Danish "for the rare strength and fertility of his poetic imagination with which is combined an intellectual curiosity of wide scope and a bold, freshly creative style"[45]
1945 Gabriela Mistral-01.jpg Gabriela Mistral Chile Spanish "for her lyric poetry which, inspired by powerful emotions, has made her name a symbol of the idealistic aspirations of the entire Latin American world"[46]
1946 Hermann Hesse 1927 Photo Gret Widmann.jpg Hermann Hesse Switzerland German "for his inspired writings which, while growing in boldness and penetration, exemplify the classical humanitarian ideals and high qualities of style"[47]
1947 André Gide 1947.jpg André Gide France French "for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight"[48]
1948 T.S. Eliot, 1923.JPG T. S. Eliot United Kingdom English "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry"[49]
1949 William Faulkner 01 KMJ.jpg William Faulkner United States English "for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel"[50]
1950 Bertrand Russell United Kingdom English "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought"[51]
1951 Lagerkvist.jpg Pär Lagerkvist Sweden Swedish "for the artistic vigour and true independence of mind with which he endeavours in his poetry to find answers to the eternal questions confronting mankind"[52]
1952 François Mauriac (1932).jpg François Mauriac France French "for the deep spiritual insight and the artistic intensity with which he has in his novels penetrated the drama of human life"[53]
1953 Churchill portrait NYP 45063.jpg Winston Churchill United Kingdom English "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values"[54]
1954 ErnestHemingway.jpg Ernest Hemingway United States English "for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style"[55]
1955 Laxness portrett einar hakonarson 1984.jpg Halldór Laxness Iceland Icelandic "for his vivid epic power which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland"[56]
1956 JRJimenez.JPG Juan Ramón Jiménez Spain Spanish "for his lyrical poetry, which in Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistical purity"[57]
1957 Albert Camus, gagnant de prix Nobel, portrait en buste, posé au bureau, faisant face à gauche, cigarette de tabagisme.jpg Albert Camus France French "for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times"[58]
1958 Boris Pasternak cropped.jpg Boris Pasternak Soviet Union Russian "for his important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition"[59]
1959 Salvatore Quasimodo 1959.jpg Salvatore Quasimodo Italy Italian "for his lyrical poetry, which with classical fire expresses the tragic experience of life in our own times"[60]
1960 Saint-John Perse 1960.jpg Saint-John Perse France French "for the soaring flight and the evocative imagery of his poetry which in a visionary fashion reflects the conditions of our time"[61]
1961 Andric Ivo.jpg Ivo Andrić Yugoslavia Serbo-Croatian "for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country"[62]
1962 JohnSteinbeck crop.JPG John Steinbeck United States English "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception"[63]
1963 Giorgos Seferis 1963.jpg Giorgos Seferis Greece Greek "for his eminent lyrical writing, inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture"[64]
1964 Jean-Paul Sartre FP.JPG Jean-Paul Sartre France French "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"[65]
1965 Sholokhov-1938.jpg Mikhail Sholokhov Soviet Union Russian "for the artistic power and integrity with which, in his epic of the Don, he has given expression to a historic phase in the life of the Russian people"[66]
1966 Agnon.jpg Shmuel Yosef Agnon Israel Hebrew "for his profoundly characteristic narrative art with motifs from the life of the Jewish people"[67]
Nelly Sachs 1966.jpg Nelly Sachs Sweden German "for her outstanding lyrical and dramatic writing, which interprets Israel's destiny with touching strength"[67]
1967 MiguelAngelAsturias.JPG Miguel Ángel Asturias Guatemala Spanish "for his vivid literary achievement, deep-rooted in the national traits and traditions of Indian peoples of Latin America"[68]
1968 Kawabata Yasunari Japan Japanese "for his narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind"[69]
1969 Samuel Beckett 01.jpg Samuel Beckett Ireland English and French "for his writing, which - in new forms for the novel and drama - in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation"[70]
1970 Solzhenicyn.jpg Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Soviet Union Russian "for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature"[71]
1971 Pablo Neruda.jpg Pablo Neruda Chile Spanish "for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent's destiny and dreams"[72]
1972 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F062164-0004, Bonn, Heinrich Böll.jpg Heinrich Böll West Germany German "for his writing which through its combination of a broad perspective on his time and a sensitive skill in characterization has contributed to a renewal of German literature"[73]
1973 Patrick White Australia English "for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature"[74]
1974 Eyvind.JPG Eyvind Johnson Sweden Swedish "for a narrative art, farseeing in lands and ages, in the service of freedom"[75]
Harry Martinson.jpg Harry Martinson Sweden Swedish "for writings that catch the dewdrop and reflect the cosmos"[75]
1975 Eugenio Montale.jpg Eugenio Montale Italy Italian "for his distinctive poetry which, with great artistic sensitivity, has interpreted human values under the sign of an outlook on life with no illusions"[76]
1976 Saul Bellow, 1990.jpg Saul Bellow United States English "for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work"[77]
1977 Vicentealeixandre.jpg Vicente Aleixandre Spain Spanish "for a creative poetic writing which illuminates man's condition in the cosmos and in present-day society, at the same time representing the great renewal of the traditions of Spanish poetry between the wars"[78]
1978 Isaac Bashevis Singer crop.jpg Isaac Bashevis Singer United States Yiddish "for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life"[79]
1979 Odysseas Elytis Greece Greek "for his poetry, which, against the background of Greek tradition, depicts with sensuous strength and intellectual clear-sightedness modern man's struggle for freedom and creativeness"[80]
1980 Czeslaw Milosz, 1986.jpg Czesław Miłosz Poland
United States
Polish "who with uncompromising clear-sightedness voices man's exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts"[81]
1981 Canetti 1970.jpg Elias Canetti Bulgaria
United Kingdom
German "for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power"[82]
1982 Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 2009.jpg Gabriel García Márquez Colombia Spanish "for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts"[83]
1983 William Golding United Kingdom English "for his novels which, with the perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world of today"[84]
1984 Jaroslav Seifert grave at Kralupy nad Vltavou cemetery CZ 0008.jpg Jaroslav Seifert Czechoslovakia Czech "for his poetry which endowed with freshness, and rich inventiveness provides a liberating image of the indomitable spirit and versatility of man"[85]
1985 Claude Simon France French "who in his novel combines the poet's and the painter's creativeness with a deepened awareness of time in the depiction of the human condition"[86]
1986 Soyinka, Wole (1934).jpg Wole Soyinka Nigeria English "who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence"[87]
1987 Joseph Brodsky United States English and Russian "for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity"[88]
1988 Necip Mahfuz.jpg Naguib Mahfouz Egypt Arabic "who, through works rich in nuance - now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous - has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind"[89]
1989 Portrait Cela.jpg Camilo José Cela Spain Spanish "for a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man's vulnerability"[90]
1990 Paz0.jpg Octavio Paz Mexico Spanish "for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity"[91]
1991 Nadine Gordimer 01.JPG Nadine Gordimer South Africa English "who through her magnificent epic writing has - in the words of Alfred Nobel - been of very great benefit to humanity"[92]
1992 Derek Walcott.jpg Derek Walcott Saint Lucia English "for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment"[93]
1993 Toni Morrison 2008-2.jpg Toni Morrison United States English "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality"[94]
1994 Kenzaburo Oe.jpg Kenzaburō Ōe Japan Japanese "who with poetic force creates an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today"[95]
1995 Seamus Heaney 2004.jpg Seamus Heaney Ireland English "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past"[96]
1996 Szymborska(closeup).jpg Wisława Szymborska Poland Polish "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality"[97]
1997 Dario Fo-Cesena.jpg Dario Fo Italy Italian "who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden"[98]
1998 JSJoseSaramago.jpg José Saramago Portugal Portuguese "who with parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality"[99]
1999 Grass.JPG Günter Grass Germany German "whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history"[100]
2000 Gao Xingjian.jpg Gao Xingjian France Chinese "for an oeuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama"[101]
2001 V. S. Naipaul United Kingdom English "for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories"[102]
2002 Imre Kertész (1929-) Hungarian writer II. by Csaba Segesvári.JPG Imre Kertész Hungary Hungarian "for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history"[103]
2003 J.M. Coetzee.JPG J. M. Coetzee South Africa English "who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider"[104]
2004 Elfriede jelinek 2004 small.jpg Elfriede Jelinek Austria German "for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power"[105]
2005 Pinterfoto cropped2.jpg Harold Pinter United Kingdom English "who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms"[106]
2006 Orhanpamuk2 cropped.jpg Orhan Pamuk Turkey Turkish "who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures"[107]
2007 Doris lessing 20060312 (square).jpg Doris Lessing United Kingdom English "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny"[108]
2008 Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio-press conference Dec 06th, 2008-2.jpg J. M. G. Le Clézio France
French "author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization"[109]
2009 Herta Müller 2007.JPG Herta Müller Germany
German "who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed"[110]
2010 Mario Vargas Llosa-2.jpg Mario Vargas Llosa Peru
Spanish "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat".[111]
2011 Transtroemer.jpg Tomas Tranströmer Sweden Swedish "because, through his condensed, transluscent images, he gives us fresh access to reality".[112]


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  104. ^ "Nobel Prize in Literature 2003". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  105. ^ "Nobel Prize in Literature 2004". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  106. ^ "Nobel Prize in Literature 2005". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  107. ^ "Nobel Prize in Literature 2006". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  108. ^ "Nobel Prize in Literature 2007". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  109. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 2008". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  110. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 2009". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  111. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 2010". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2010-10-07. 
  112. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 2011". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 

^ A. The information in the country column is according to, the official website of the Nobel Foundation. This information may not necessarily reflect the recipient's birthplace or citizenship.

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