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Nobel Prize for Literature

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The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded annually, since 1901, to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "the most outstanding work of an idealistic tendency". The "work" in this case refers to an author's work as a whole, though individual works are sometimes also cited.

110 facts:

1901
   the winner was   
Sully Prudhomme
Nom de plume of René François Armand Prudhomme; France, 1839-1907
1902
   the winner was   
Theodor Mommsen
Germany, 1817-1903; author of "A History of Rome"
1903
   the winner was   
Bjornstjerne Bjornson
Norway, 1832-1910; poet
1904
   the winner was   
Frédéric Mistral, José Echegaray
France, 1830-1914 / Spain, 1832-1916
1905
   the winner was   
Henryk Sienkiewicz
Poland, 1846-1916; "because of his outstanding merits as an epic writer"
1906
   the winner was   
Giosuè Carducci
Italy, 1835-1907; poet
1907
   the winner was   
Rudyard Kipling
United Kingdom, 1865-1936; "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 writer"
1908
   the winner was   
Rudolf Eucken
Germany, 1846-1926
1909
   the winner was   
Selma Lagerlöf
Sweden, 1858-1940
1910
   the winner was   
Paul Heyse
Germany, 1830-1914
1911
   the winner was   
Maurice Maeterlinck
Belgium, 1862-1949
1912
   the winner was   
Gerhart Hauptmann
Germany, 1862-1946
1913
   the winner was   
Rabindranath Tagore
India, 1861-1941; "because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which...he has made his poetic thought...a part of the literature of the West"
1915
   the winner was   
Romain Rolland
France, 1866-1944
1916
   the winner was   
Verner Von Heidenstam
Sweden, 1859-1940
1917
   the winner was   
Karl Gjellerup, Henrik Pontoppidan
Denmark, 1857-1919 / Denmark, 1857-1943
1919
   the winner was   
Carl Spitteler
Switzerland, 1845-1924; "in special recognition of his epic Olympian Spring"
1920
   the winner was   
Knut Hamsun
Norway, 1859-1952; "for his monumental work Growth of the Soil"
1921
   the winner was   
Anatole France
Pen-name of Jacques Anatole Thibeault; France, 1844-1924; "in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements...and a true Gallic temperament"
1922
   the winner was   
Jacinto Benavente
Spain, 1866-1954
1923
   the winner was   
William Butler Yeats
Ireland, 1865-1939; "for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation"
1924
   the winner was   
Wladyslaw Reymont
Poland, 1867-1925; "for his great national epic, The Peasants"
1925
   the winner was   
George Bernard Shaw
United Kingdom, 1856-1950; "for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty"
1926
   the winner was   
Grazia Deledda
Pen-name of Grazia Madesani, née Deledda; Italy, 1871-1936
1927
   the winner was   
Henri Bergson
France, 1859-1941
1928
   the winner was   
Sigrid Undset
Norway, 1882-1949; "principially for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages"
1929
   the winner was   
Thomas Mann
Germany, 1875-1955; "principally for his great novel Buddenbrooks, which has won steadily increased recognition as one of the classic works of contemporary literature"
1930
   the winner was   
Sinclair Lewis
USA, 1885-1951; "for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters"
1931
   the winner was   
Erik Axel Karlfeldt
Sweden, 1864-1931; "The poetry of Erik Axel Karlfeldt"
1932
   the winner was   
John Galsworthy
United Kingdom, 1867-1933; "for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in The Forsyte Saga"
1933
   the winner was   
Ivan Bunin
Stateless domicile in France, 1870-1953
1934
   the winner was   
Luigi Pirandello
Italy, 1867-1936; "for his bold and ingenious revival of dramatic and scenic art"
1936
   the winner was   
Eugene O'Neill
USA, 1888-1953; "for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy"
1937
   the winner was   
Roger Martin Du Gard
France, 1881-1958
1938
   the winner was   
Pearl Buck
Pen-name of Pearl Walsh, née Sydenstricker; USA, 1892-1973; "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces:
1939
   the winner was   
Frans Eemil Sillanpää
Finland, 1888-1964
1944
   the winner was   
Johannes V. Jensen
Denmark, 1873-1950
1945
   the winner was   
Gabriela Mistral
Pen-name of Lucila Godoy y Alcayaga; Chile, 1889-1957
1946
   the winner was   
Hermann Hesse
Switzerland, 1877-1962; "for his inspired writings which, while growing in boldness and penetration, exemplify the classical humanitarian ideals and high qualities of style"
1947
   the winner was   
André Gide
1869-1951; "for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings...."
1948
   the winner was   
T.S. Eliot
United Kingdom, 1888-1965; "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry"
1949
   the winner was   
William Faulkner
USA, 1897-1962; "for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel"
1950
   the winner was   
Bertrand Russell
United Kingdom, 1872-1970; "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought"
1951
   the winner was   
Pär Lagerkvist
Sweden, 1871-1974; poet
1952
   the winner was   
François Mauriac
France, 1885-1970; "for the deep spiritual insight and the artistic intensity with which he has in his novels penetrated the drama of human life"
1953
   the winner was   
Winston Churchill
United Kingdom, 1874-1965; "for his mastery of historical and biological description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values"
1954
   the winner was   
Ernest Hemingway
USA, 1899-1961; "for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence he has exerted on contemporary style"
1955
   the winner was   
Halldór Laxness
Iceland, 1902-1998; "for his vivid epic power which has renewed the great epic power of Iceland"
1956
   the winner was   
Juan Ramón Jiménez
Spain, 1881-1958
1957
   the winner was   
Albert Camus
France, 1913-1960; "for his important literary production which...illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times"
1958
   the winner was   
Boris Pasternak
USSR, 1890-1960; "for his important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition"
1959
   the winner was   
Salvatore Quasimodo
Italy, 1901-1968; "for his lyrical poetry, which with classical fire expresses the tragic experience of life in our times"
1960
   the winner was   
Saint-John Perse
France, 1887-1975; pen name of Alexis Léger
1961
   the winner was   
Ivo Andric
Yugoslavia, 1892-1975
1962
   the winner was   
John Steinbeck
USA, 1902-1968; "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception"
1963
   the winner was   
Giorgos Seferis
Greece, 1900-1971
1964
   the winner was   
Jean-Paul Sartre
France, 1905-1980; "for his work which...has exerted a far-reaching influence on our age"
1965
   the winner was   
Mikhail Sholokhov
USSR, 1905-1984
1966
   the winner was   
Samuel Agnon, Nelly Sachs
Israel, 1888-1970 / Sweden, 1891-1970; both for writing about Israel and the Jewish people
1967
   the winner was   
Miguel Angel Asturias
Guatemala, 1899-1974; "for his vivid literary achievement, deep-rooted in the national traits and traditions of Indian peoples of Latin America"
1968
   the winner was   
Yasunari Kawabata
Japan, 1899-1972; "for his narrative mastery which, with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind"
1969
   the winner was   
Samuel Beckett
Ireland, 1906-1989; "for his writing, which - in new forms for the novel and drama - in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation"
1970
   the winner was   
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
USSR, 1918-2008; "for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature"
1971
   the winner was   
Pablo Neruda
Chile, 1904-1973; pen-name of Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto; "for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent's destiny and dreams"
1972
   the winner was   
Heinrich Böll
Germany 1917-1985; "for his writing which...has contributed to a renewel of German literature"
1973
   the winner was   
Patrick White
Australia, 1912-1990; "for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature"
1974
   the winner was   
Eyvind Johnson, Harry Martinson
Sweden, 1900-1976; "for a narrative art...in the service of freedom" / Sweden, 1904-1978; "for writings that catch the dewdrop and reflect the cosmos"
1975
   the winner was   
Eugenio Montale
Italy, 1896-1981; "for his distinctive poetry...."
1976
   the winner was   
Saul Bellow
USA, 1915-2005; "for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work"
1977
   the winner was   
Vicente Aleixandre
Spain, 1898-1984; poet
1978
   the winner was   
Isaac Bashevis Singer
USA, 1904-1991; "for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life"
1979
   the winner was   
Odysseus Elytis
Greece, 1911-1996
1980
   the winner was   
Czeslaw Milosz
Poland and USA, 1911-2004
1981
   the winner was   
Elias Canetti
United Kingdom, 1905-1994
1982
   the winner was   
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Colombia, b.1928; "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"
1983
   the winner was   
William Golding
United Kingdom, 1911-1993; "for his novels which, with perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world today"
1984
   the winner was   
Jaroslav Seifert
Czechoslovakia, 1901-1886
1985
   the winner was   
Claude Simon
France, 1913-2005
1986
   the winner was   
Wole Soyinka
Nigeria, b.1934; "who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence"
1987
   the winner was   
Joseph Brodsky
USA, 1940-1996; "for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity"
1988
   the winner was   
Naguib Mahfouz
Egypt, 1911-2006
1989
   the winner was   
Camilo José Cela
Spain, 1916-2002; "for a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man's vulnerability"
1990
   the winner was   
Octavio Paz
Mexico, 1914-1998; "for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity"
1991
   the winner was   
Nadine Gordimer
South Africa, b.1923; "who through her magnificent epic writing has - in the words of Alfred Nobel - been of very great benefit to humanity"
1992
   the winner was   
Derek Walcott
St. Lucia, b.1930; "for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment"
1993
   the winner was   
Toni Morrison
USA, b.1931; "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality"
1994
   the winner was   
Kenzaburo Oe
Japan, b.1935; "who with poetic force creates an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today"
1995
   the winner was   
Seamus Heaney
Ireland, b.1939; "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past"
1996
   the winner was   
Wislawa Szymborska
Poland, b.1923; "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality"
1997
   the winner was   
Dario Fo
Italy, b.1926, "who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden"
1998
   the winner was   
Jose Saramago
Portugal, 1922-2010; "who with parables sustained with imagination, compassion and irony continually enable us once again to apprehend an elusory reality"
1999
   the winner was   
Günter Grass
Germany, b.1927; "whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history"
2000
   the winner was   
Gao Xingjian
France, b.1940; "for an ouvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama"
2001
   the winner was   
V.S. Naipaul
United Kingdom, b.1932; "for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories"
2002
   the winner was   
Imre Kertész
Hungary, b.1929; "for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the arbitrariness of history"
2003
   the winner was   
J.M. Coetzee
South Africa, b.1940; "who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider"
2004
   the winner was   
Elfriede Jelinek
Austria, b. 1946; "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"
2005
   the winner was   
Harold Pinter
United Kingdom, b. 1930; "who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into opression's closed rooms"
2006
   the winner was   
Orhan Pamuk
Turkey, b. 1952; "who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures"
2007
   the winner was   
Doris Lessing
Aged 87 she was the oldest author to win. One of the British writer's best known books is The Golden Notebook.
2008
   the winner was   
Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio
France, b.1940, author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization
2009
   the winner was   
Hertz Müller
Romania, b.1953, who with concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed
2010
   the winner was   
Mario Vargas Llosa
Peru, b.1936, for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individuals resistance, revolt, and defeat
2011
   the winner was   
Tomas Tranströme
Sweden, b.1931, because through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality
2012
   the winner was   
Mo Yan
China, b.1955, who with hallucinatory realism, folk tales, history and the contemporary
2013
   the winner was   
Alice Munro
Canada, 1931, master of the contempory short story
2014
   the winner was   
Patrick Modiano
France - b. 1945
2015
   the winner was   
Svetlana Alexievich
Belarus - b. 1948
2016
   the winner was   
Bob Dylan
USA - b.1941 singer/songwriter. Bob Dylan has refused to acknowledge the award and it is unknown if he will accept it. The Award website lists recipients whether they accept it or not.
2017
   the winner was   
Kazuo Ishiguro
British novelist born 1954.


Facts contributed by:


Bowler








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