Awards: 108 Prizes to 112 Laureates
Awarded women: 14
Shared prizes: 2
Number of Nobel Prizes in Literature: 108 Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded since 1901.
It was not awarded on seven occasions: in 1914, 1918, 1935, 1940, 1941, 1942, and 1943.
Number of Nobel Laureates in Literature
112 individuals have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature from 1901-2015.
Youngest Literature Laureate
To date, the youngest Literature Laureate is Rudyard Kipling,best known for The Jungle Book, who was 42 years old when he was awarded the Literature Prize in 1907.
Oldest Literature Laureate
The oldest Nobel Laureate in Literature to date is Doris Lessing, who was 88 years old when she was awarded the Prize in 2007.
Female Nobel Laureates in Literature
14 women have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940) was the first woman to be awarded in 1909. Selma Lagerlöf was awarded five years before she was elected to the Swedish Academy, the Nobel Prize awarding institution responsible for selecting Nobel Laureates in Literature.
1909 - Selma Lagerlöf
1926 - Grazia Deledda
1928 - Sigrid Undset
1938 - Pearl Buck
1945 - Gabriela Mistral
1966 - Nelly Sachs
1991 - Nadine Gordimer
1993 - Toni Morrison
1996 - Wislawa Szymborska
2004 - Elfriede Jelinek
2007 - Doris Lessing
2009 - Herta Müller
2013 - Alice Munro
2015 - Svetlana Alexievich
Two People have Declined the Nobel Prize in Literature
Boris Pasternak, the 1958 Nobel Prize in Literature, “Accepted first, later caused by the authorities of his country (Soviet Union) to decline the Prize”.
Jean Paul Sartre, the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature, declined the prize because he had consistently declined all official honours.
Literature Laureates and Genres
The most common genre for Nobel Laureates in Literature is prose. 76 Nobel Laureates write mostly prose.
Literature Laureates with Pen-Names
Sully Prudhomme (pen-name of René François Armand Prudhomme),
Anatole France (pen-name of Jacques Anatole Thibault),
Wladyslaw Reymont (pen-name of Rejment),
Grazia Deledda (pen-name of Grazia Madesani, née Deledda),
Pearl Buck (pen-name of Pearl Walsh, née Sydenstricker),
Gabriela Mistral (pen-name of Lucila Godoy y Alcayaga),
Saint-John Perse (pen-name of Alexis Léger),
Giorgos Seferis (pen-name of Giorgos Seferiadis),
Pablo Neruda (pen-name of Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto),
Odysseus Elytis (pen-name of Odysseus Alepoudhelis),
Mo Yan (pen-name of Guan Moye).
Surprise Literature Laureate?
Many believe that Winston Churchill was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but he was actually awarded the 1953 Nobel Prize in Literature. Between 1945 and 1953, Winston Churchill got 21 nominations for the Literature Prize and two for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Awarded for a Particular Literary Work
While the Nobel Prize in Literature is for a writer's life work, there are nine Literature Laureates for whom the Swedish Academy singled out a specific work for particular recognition.
While the Nobel Prize in Literature is for a writer's life work, there are nine Literature Laureates for whom the Swedish Academy singled out a specific work for particular recognition. Among them the following three are important from our point of view.
Ernest Hemingway in 1954
“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”
John Galsworthy in 1932
“for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in The Forsyte Saga”
Thomas Mann in 1929
“principally for his great novel, Buddenbrooks, which has won steadily increased recognition as one of the classic works of contemporary literature”