Nobel Prize in Literature

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Nobel Prize in Literature_table_infobox_0

Nobel Prize in LiteratureNobel Prize in Literature_header_cell_0_0_0
Awarded forNobel Prize in Literature_header_cell_0_1_0 Outstanding contributions in literatureNobel Prize in Literature_cell_0_1_1
LocationNobel Prize in Literature_header_cell_0_2_0 Stockholm, SwedenNobel Prize in Literature_cell_0_2_1
Presented byNobel Prize in Literature_header_cell_0_3_0 Swedish AcademyNobel Prize in Literature_cell_0_3_1
Reward(s)Nobel Prize in Literature_header_cell_0_4_0 10 million SEK (2020)Nobel Prize in Literature_cell_0_4_1
First awardedNobel Prize in Literature_header_cell_0_5_0 1901Nobel Prize in Literature_cell_0_5_1
Currently held byNobel Prize in Literature_header_cell_0_6_0 Louise GlückNobel Prize in Literature_cell_0_6_1
WebsiteNobel Prize in Literature_header_cell_0_7_0 Nobel Prize in Literature_cell_0_7_1

The Nobel Prize in Literature is a Swedish literature prize that is awarded annually, since 1901, to an author from any country who has, in the words of the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction" (original Swedish: den som inom litteraturen har producerat det mest framstående verket i en idealisk riktning). Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_0

Though individual works are sometimes cited as being particularly noteworthy, the award is based on an author's body of work as a whole. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_1

The Swedish Academy decides who, if anyone, will receive the prize. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_2

The academy announces the name of the laureate in early October. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_3

It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_4

On some occasions the award has been postponed to the following year, most recently in 2018. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_5

Background Nobel Prize in Literature_section_0

Alfred Nobel stipulated in his last will and testament that his money be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer the "greatest benefit on mankind" in physics, chemistry, peace, physiology or medicine, and literature. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_6

Though Nobel wrote several wills during his lifetime, the last was written a little over a year before he died, and signed at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris on 27 November 1895. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_7

Nobel bequeathed 94% of his total assets, 31 million Swedish kronor (US$198 million, 176 million in 2016), to establish and endow the five Nobel Prizes. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_8

Due to the level of scepticism surrounding the will, it was not until 26 April 1897 that the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) approved it. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_9

The executors of his will were Ragnar Sohlman and Rudolf Lilljequist, who formed the Nobel Foundation to take care of Nobel's fortune and organize the prizes. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_10

The members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee that were to award the Peace Prize were appointed shortly after the will was approved. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_11

The prize-awarding organisations followed: the Karolinska Institutet on 7 June, the Swedish Academy on 9 June, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on 11 June. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_12

The Nobel Foundation then reached an agreement on guidelines for how the Nobel Prize should be awarded. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_13

In 1900, the Nobel Foundation's newly created statutes were promulgated by King Oscar II. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_14

According to Nobel's will, the prize in literature should be determined by "the Academy in Stockholm", which was specified by the statutes of the Nobel Foundation to mean the Swedish Academy. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_15

Nomination and award procedure Nobel Prize in Literature_section_1

For a more comprehensive list, see List of nominees for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_16

Each year, the Swedish Academy sends out requests for nominations of candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_17

Members of the Academy, members of literature academies and societies, professors of literature and language, former Nobel literature laureates, and the presidents of writers' organizations are all allowed to nominate a candidate. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_18

It is not permitted to nominate oneself. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_19

Thousands of requests are sent out each year, and as of 2011 about 220 proposals were returned. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_20

These proposals must be received by the Academy by 1 February, after which they are examined by the Nobel Committee. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_21

By April, the Academy narrows the field to around twenty candidates. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_22

By May, a short list of five names is approved by the Committee. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_23

The next four months are spent in reading and reviewing the works of the five candidates. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_24

In October, members of the Academy vote and the candidate who receives more than half of the votes is named the Nobel laureate in Literature. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_25

No one can get the prize without being on the list at least twice; thus many authors reappear and are reviewed repeatedly over the years. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_26

The academy is master of thirteen languages, but when a candidate is shortlisted from an unknown language, they call on translators and oath-sworn experts to provide samples of that writer. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_27

Other elements of the process are similar to those of other Nobel Prizes. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_28

The judges are composed of an 18 member committee who are elected for life, and until 2018 not technically permitted to leave. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_29

On 2 May 2018, King Carl XVI Gustaf amended the rules of the academy and made it possible for members to resign. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_30

The new rules also state that a member who has been inactive in the work of the academy for more than two years can be asked to resign. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_31

The award is usually announced in October. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_32

Sometimes, however, the award has been announced the year after the nominal year, the latest such case being the 2018 award. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_33

In the midst of controversy surrounding claims of sexual assault, conflict of interest, and resignations by officials, on 4 May 2018, the Swedish Academy announced that the 2018 laureate would be announced in 2019 along with the 2019 laureate. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_34

Prizes Nobel Prize in Literature_section_2

A Literature Nobel Prize laureate earns a gold medal, a diploma bearing a citation, and a sum of money. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_35

The amount of money awarded depends on the income of the Nobel Foundation that year. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_36

If a prize is awarded to more than one laureate, the money is either split evenly among them or, for three laureates, it may be divided into a half and two quarters. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_37

If a prize is awarded jointly to two or more laureates, the money is split among them. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_38

The prize money of the Nobel Prize has been fluctuating since its inauguration but as of 2012 it stood at kr 8,000,000 (about US$1,100,000), previously it was kr 10,000,000. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_39

This was not the first time the prize-amount was decreased—beginning with a nominal value of kr 150,782 in 1901 (worth 8,123,951 in 2011 SEK) the nominal value has been as low as kr 121,333 (2,370,660 in 2011 SEK) in 1945—but it has been uphill or stable since then, peaking at an SEK-2011 value of 11,659,016 in 2001. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_40

The laureate is also invited to give a lecture during "Nobel Week" in Stockholm; the highlight is the prize-giving ceremony and banquet on 10 December. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_41

It is the second richest literary prize in the world. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_42

Medals Nobel Prize in Literature_section_3

The Nobel Prize medals, minted by Myntverket in Sweden and the Mint of Norway since 1902, are registered trademarks of the Nobel Foundation. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_43

Each medal features an image of Alfred Nobel in left profile on the obverse (front side of the medal). Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_44

The Nobel Prize medals for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature have identical obverses, showing the image of Alfred Nobel and the years of his birth and death (1833–1896). Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_45

Nobel's portrait also appears on the obverse of the Nobel Peace Prize medal and the Medal for the Prize in Economics, but with a slightly different design. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_46

The image on the reverse of a medal varies according to the institution awarding the prize. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_47

The reverse sides of the Nobel Prize medals for Chemistry and Physics share the same design. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_48

The medal for the Nobel Prize in Literature was designed by Erik Lindberg. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_49

Diplomas Nobel Prize in Literature_section_4

Nobel laureates receive a Diploma directly from the King of Sweden. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_50

Each Diploma is uniquely designed by the prize-awarding institutions for the laureate who receives it. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_51

The Diploma contains a picture and text that states the name of the laureate and normally a citation of why they received the prize. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_52

Laureates Nobel Prize in Literature_section_5

For a more comprehensive list, see List of Nobel laureates in Literature. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_53

The Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded 113 times between 1901 and 2020 to 117 individuals: 101 men and 16 women. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_54

The prize has been shared between two individuals on four occasions. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_55

It was not awarded on seven occasions. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_56

The laureates have included writers in 25 different languages. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_57

The youngest laureate was Rudyard Kipling, who was 41 years old when he was awarded in 1907. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_58

The oldest laureate to receive the prize was Doris Lessing, who was 88 when she was awarded in 2007. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_59

It has been awarded once, to Erik Axel Karlfeldt in 1931. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_60

Two writers have declined the prize, Boris Pasternak in 1958 ("Accepted first, later caused by the authorities of his country (Soviet Union) to decline the Prize", according to the Nobel Foundation) and Jean-Paul Sartre in 1964. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_61

Interpretations of Nobel's guidelines Nobel Prize in Literature_section_6

Alfred Nobel's guidelines for the prize that the candidate should have bestowed "the greatest benefit on mankind", and writing "in an ideal direction" have caused much discussion. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_62

In the early history of the prize Nobel's "ideal" was read as "a lofty and sound idealism". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_63

The set of criteria, characterized by its conservative idealism, holding church, state and family sacred, resulted in Prizes to Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Rudyard Kipling and Paul Heyse. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_64

During World War I there was a policy of neutrality, which partly explains the number of awards to Scandinavian writers. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_65

In the 1920s "ideal direction" was interpreted more generously as "wide-hearted humanity", and writers like Anatole France, George Bernard Shaw and Thomas Mann were awarded. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_66

In the 1930s "the greatest benefit on mankind" was interpreted as writers within everybody’s reach, with authors like Sinclair Lewis and Pearl Buck being awarded. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_67

From 1946 a renewed Academy changed focus and began to award literary pioneers like Hermann Hesse, André Gide, T. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_68 S. Eliot and William Faulkner. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_69

From this era, "the greatest benefit on mankind" was interpreted in a more exclusive and generous way than before. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_70

Since the 1970s the Academy has often given attention to important but internationally unnoticed writers, awarding writers like Isaac Bashevis Singer, Odysseus Elytis, Elias Canetti, and Jaroslav Seifert. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_71

From 1986 the Academy acknowledged the international horizon in Nobel's will, which rejected any consideration for the nationality of the candidates, and awarded authors from all over the world such as Wole Soyinka from Nigeria, Naguib Mahfouz from Egypt, Octavio Paz from Mexico, Nadine Gordimer from South Africa, Derek Walcott from St. Lucia, Toni Morrison, the first African-American on the list, Kenzaburo Oe from Japan, and Gao Xingjian, the first laureate to write in Chinese. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_72

In the 2000s V. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_73 S. Naipaul, Mario Vargas Llosa and the Chinese writer Mo Yan have been awarded, but the policy of "a prize for the whole world" has been less noticeable as the Academy has mostly awarded European and English-language writers from the Western literary tradition. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_74

In 2015 a rare prize to a non-fiction writer was awarded to Svetlana Alexievich. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_75

Shared prize Nobel Prize in Literature_section_7

The Nobel Prize in Literature can be shared between two individuals. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_76

However, the Academy has been reluctant to award shared prizes, mainly because divisions are liable to be interpreted as a result of a compromise. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_77

The shared prizes awarded to Frederic Mistral and José Echegaray in 1904 and to Karl Gjellerup and Henrik Pontoppidan in 1917 were in fact both a result of compromises. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_78

The Academy has also hesitated to divide the prize between two authors as a shared prize runs the risk of being regarded as only half a laurel. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_79

Shared prizes are exceptional, and more recently the Academy has awarded a shared prize on only two occasions, to Shmuel Yosef Agnon and Nelly Sachs in 1966, and to Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson in 1974. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_80

Recognition of a specific work Nobel Prize in Literature_section_8

Nobel Prize Laureates in Literature are awarded for the author's life work, but on some occasions the Academy have singled out a specific work for particular recognition. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_81

For example Knut Hamsun was awarded in 1920 "for his monumental work, Growth of the Soil", 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", John Galsworthy in 1932 "for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in The Forsyte Saga", Roger Martin du Gard in 1937 “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.” 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", and Mikhail Sholokhov in 1965 "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". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_82

Potential candidates Nobel Prize in Literature_section_9

Nominations are kept secret for fifty years until they are publicly available at The Nomination Database for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_83

Currently, only nominations submitted between 1901 and 1966 are available for public viewing. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_84

Criticism Nobel Prize in Literature_section_10

Although the Nobel Prize in Literature has become the world's most prestigious literature prize, the Swedish Academy has attracted significant criticism for its handling of the award. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_85

Many authors who have won the prize have fallen into obscurity, while others rejected by the jury remain widely studied and read. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_86

The prize has "become widely seen as a political one – a peace prize in literary disguise", whose judges are prejudiced against authors with political tastes different from theirs. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_87

Tim Parks has expressed skepticism that it is possible for "Swedish professors ... [to] compar[e] a poet from Indonesia, perhaps translated into English with a novelist from Cameroon, perhaps available only in French, and another who writes in Afrikaans but is published in German and Dutch...". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_88

As of 2016, 16 of the 113 recipients have been of Scandinavian origin. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_89

The Academy has often been alleged to be biased towards European, and in particular Swedish, authors. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_90

Nobel's "vague" wording for the criteria for the prize has led to recurrent controversy. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_91

In the original Swedish, the word idealisk translates as "ideal". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_92

The Nobel Committee's interpretation has varied over the years. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_93

In recent years, this means a kind of idealism championing human rights on a broad scale. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_94

Controversies about Nobel Laureate selections Nobel Prize in Literature_section_11

From 1901 to 1912, the committee, headed by the conservative Carl David af Wirsén, weighed the literary quality of a work against its contribution towards humanity's struggle 'toward the ideal'. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_95

Leo Tolstoy, Henrik Ibsen, Émile Zola, and Mark Twain were rejected in favor of authors little read today. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_96

The first prize in 1901, awarded to the French poet Sully Prudhomme, was heavily criticised. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_97

Many believed that the acclaimed Russian author Tolstoy should have been awarded the first Nobel prize in literature. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_98

The choice of philosopher Rudolf Eucken as Nobel Laureate in 1908 is widely considered to be one of the worst mistakes in the history of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_99

The main candidates for the prize this year were poet Algernon Swinburne and author Selma Lagerlöf, but the Academy were divided between the candidates and, as a compromise, Eucken, representative of the Academy's interpretation of Nobel's "ideal direction", was launched as an alternative candidate that could be agreed upon. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_100

The choice of Selma Lagerlöf (Sweden 1858–1940) as Nobel Laureate in 1909 (for the 'lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterizes her writings') followed fierce debate because of her writing style and subject matter, which broke literary decorums of the time. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_101

During World War I and its immediate aftermath, the committee adopted a policy of neutrality, favouring writers from non-combatant countries. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_102

The pacifistic author Romain Rolland was awarded the prize for 1915. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_103

Other years during the war Scandinavian writers were favoured, or the award was postponed. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_104

In 1931 the prize was awarded posthumously to the poet and former permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy Erik Axel Karlfeldt, who had died earlier that year. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_105

The prize was controversial not just because it was the first and only time the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded posthumously, but because the Academy had previously awarded two other Swedish writers of the same literary era, Selma Lagerlöf in 1909 and Verner von Heidenstam in 1916. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_106

Internationally it was heavily criticized as few had heard of Karlfeldt. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_107

The Nobel Prize awarded to Pearl Buck in 1938 is one of the most criticised in the history of the prize. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_108

The Academy awarded Buck "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces", referring to acclaimed and popular books published only a few years earlier. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_109

But her later work is generally not considered to be of the literary standard of a Nobel Laureate. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_110

In 1962, John Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_111

The selection was heavily criticized, and described as "one of the Academy's biggest mistakes" in one Swedish newspaper. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_112

The New York Times asked why the Nobel committee gave the award to an author whose "limited talent is, in his best books, watered down by tenth-rate philosophising", adding, "we think it interesting that the laurel was not awarded to a writer ... whose significance, influence and sheer body of work had already made a more profound impression on the literature of our age". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_113

Steinbeck himself, when asked if he deserved the Nobel on the day of the announcement, replied: "Frankly, no." Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_114

In 2012 (50 years later), the Nobel Prize opened its archives and it was revealed that Steinbeck was a "compromise choice" among a shortlist consisting of Steinbeck, British authors Robert Graves and Lawrence Durrell, French dramatist Jean Anouilh and Danish author Karen Blixen. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_115

The declassified documents showed that he was chosen as the best of a bad lot: "There aren't any obvious candidates for the Nobel prize and the prize committee is in an unenviable situation," wrote committee member Henry Olsson. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_116

In 1964, Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, but he wrote declining it, stating that "It is not the same thing if I sign Jean-Paul Sartre or if I sign Jean-Paul Sartre, Nobel Prize laureate. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_117

A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honorable form." Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_118

Nevertheless he was awarded the prize. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_119

Soviet dissident writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the 1970 prize laureate, did not attend the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm for fear that the USSR would prevent his return afterwards (his works there were circulated in samizdat—clandestine form). Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_120

After the Swedish government refused to honor Solzhenitsyn with a public award ceremony and lecture at its Moscow embassy, Solzhenitsyn refused the award altogether, commenting that the conditions set by the Swedes (who preferred a private ceremony) were "an insult to the Nobel Prize itself." Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_121

Solzhenitsyn did not accept the award and prize money until 10 December 1974, after he was deported from the Soviet Union. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_122

In 1974, Graham Greene, Vladimir Nabokov, and Saul Bellow were believed to be likely candidates for the prize but the Academy decided on a joint award for Swedish authors Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson, both members of the Swedish Academy at the time, and unknown outside their home country. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_123

Bellow received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1976; neither Greene nor Nabokov was awarded it. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_124

The award to Italian performance artist Dario Fo in 1997 was initially considered "rather lightweight" by some critics, as he was seen primarily as a performer, and Catholic organizations saw the award to Fo as controversial as he had previously been censured by the Roman Catholic Church. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_125

The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano expressed surprise at Fo's selection for the prize commenting that "Giving the prize to someone who is also the author of questionable works is beyond all imagination." Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_126

Salman Rushdie and Arthur Miller had been strongly favoured to receive the Prize, but the Nobel organisers were later quoted as saying that they would have been "too predictable, too popular." Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_127

Camilo José Cela willingly offered his services as an informer for Franco's regime and had moved voluntarily from Madrid to Galicia during the Spanish Civil War in order to join the rebel forces there; an article by Miguel Angel Villena, Between Fear and Impunity which compiled commentaries by Spanish novelists on the noteworthy silence of the older generation of Spanish novelists on the Francoist pasts of public intellectuals, appeared below a photograph of Cela during the Nobel ceremony in Stockholm in 1989. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_128

The choice of the 2004 laureate, Elfriede Jelinek, was protested by a member of the Swedish Academy, Knut Ahnlund, who had not played an active role in the Academy since 1996; Ahnlund resigned, alleging that selecting Jelinek had caused "irreparable damage" to the reputation of the award. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_129

The selection of Harold Pinter for the Prize in 2005 was delayed for a couple of days, apparently due to Ahnlund's resignation, and led to renewed speculations about there being a "political element" in the Swedish Academy's awarding of the Prize. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_130

Although Pinter was unable to give his Nobel Lecture in person because of ill health, he delivered it from a television studio on video projected on screens to an audience at the Swedish Academy, in Stockholm. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_131

His comments have been the source of much commentary and debate. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_132

The issue of their "political stance" was also raised in response to the awards of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Orhan Pamuk and Doris Lessing in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_133

The 2016 choice of Bob Dylan was the first time a musician and songwriter won the Nobel for Literature. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_134

The award caused some controversy, particularly among writers arguing that the literary merits of Dylan's work are not equal to those of some of his peers. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_135

Lebanese novelist Rabih Alameddine tweeted that "Bob Dylan winning a Nobel in Literature is like Mrs Fields being awarded 3 Michelin stars." Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_136

The French writer Pierre Assouline described the decision as "contemptuous of writers". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_137

In a live webchat hosted by The Guardian, Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgård said that "I'm very divided. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_138

I love that the nobel committee opens up for other kinds of literature – lyrics and so on. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_139

I think that's brilliant. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_140

But knowing that Dylan is the same generation as Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, makes it very difficult for me to accept it." Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_141

Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh said "I'm a Dylan fan, but this is an ill conceived nostalgia award wrenched from the rancid prostates of senile, gibbering hippies." Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_142

Dylan's songwriting peer and friend Leonard Cohen said that no prizes were necessary to recognize the greatness of the man who transformed pop music with records like Highway 61 Revisited. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_143

"To me," Cohen said, "[the Nobel] is like pinning a medal on Mount Everest for being the highest mountain." Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_144

Writer and commentator Will Self wrote that the award "cheapened" Dylan whilst hoping the laureate would "follow Sartre in rejecting the award". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_145

The choice of Peter Handke for the prize in 2019 caused much controversy and was criticised because of Handke's vocal support of Serbia during the 1990s Yugoslav wars. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_146

Albania's foreign minister Gent Cakaj called it a "shameful" award and Kosovo's president Hashim Thaçi said that "The decision of Nobel Prize brought immense pain to countless victims", and it was also criticised by several other politicians and survivors of the war. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_147

In a statement, PEN America wrote that the organisation was "dumbfounded by the selection of a writer who has used his public voice to undercut historical truth". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_148

The Swedish Academy defended their decision to award Handke and wrote that "the Swedish Academy has obviously not intended to reward a war criminal and denier of war crimes or genocide" and that the Academy "has found nothing in what he has written that involves attacks on civil society or respect for the equal value of all people". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_149

Nationality-based criticism Nobel Prize in Literature_section_12

The prize's focus on European men, and Swedes in particular, has been the subject of criticism, even from Swedish newspapers. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_150

The majority of laureates have been European, with Sweden itself receiving more prizes (8) than all of Asia (7, if Turkish Orhan Pamuk is included), as well as all of Latin America (7, if Saint Lucian Derek Walcott is included). Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_151

In 2009, Horace Engdahl, then the permanent secretary of the Academy, declared that "Europe still is the centre of the literary world" and that "the US is too isolated, too insular. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_152

They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature." Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_153

In 2009, Engdahl's replacement, Peter Englund, rejected this sentiment ("In most language areas ... there are authors that really deserve and could get the Nobel Prize and that goes for the United States and the Americas, as well") and acknowledged the Eurocentric nature of the award, saying that, "I think that is a problem. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_154

We tend to relate more easily to literature written in Europe and in the European tradition." Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_155

American critics are known to object that those from their own country, like Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon, and Cormac McCarthy, have been overlooked, as have Latin Americans such as Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, and Carlos Fuentes, while in their place Europeans lesser-known to that continent have triumphed. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_156

The 2009 award to Herta Müller, previously little-known outside Germany but many times named favorite for the Nobel Prize, re-ignited the viewpoint that the Swedish Academy was biased and Eurocentric. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_157

The 2010 prize was awarded to Mario Vargas Llosa, a native of Peru in South America, a generally well-regarded decision. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_158

When the 2011 prize was awarded to the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy Peter Englund said the prize was not decided based on politics, describing such a notion as "literature for dummies". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_159

The Swedish Academy awarded the next two prizes to non-Europeans, Chinese author Mo Yan and Canadian short story writer Alice Munro. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_160

French writer Patrick Modiano's win in 2014 renewed questions of Eurocentrism; when asked by The Wall Street Journal "So no American this year, yet again. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_161

Why is that? Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_162

", Englund reminded Americans of the Canadian origins of the previous year's recipient, the Academy's desire for literary quality and the impossibility of rewarding everyone who deserves the prize. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_163

Overlooked literary achievements Nobel Prize in Literature_section_13

In the history of the Nobel Prize in Literature, many literary achievements were overlooked. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_164

The literary historian Kjell Espmark admitted that "as to the early prizes, the censure of bad choices and blatant omissions is often justified. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_165

Tolstoy, Ibsen, and Henry James should have been rewarded instead of, for instance, Sully Prudhomme, Eucken, and Heyse". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_166

There are omissions which are beyond the control of the Nobel Committee such as the early death of an author as was the case with Marcel Proust, Italo Calvino, and Roberto Bolaño. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_167

According to Kjell Espmark "the main works of Kafka, Cavafy, and Pessoa were not published until after their deaths and the true dimensions of Mandelstam's poetry were revealed above all in the unpublished poems that his wife saved from extinction and gave to the world long after he had perished in his Siberian exile". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_168

British novelist Tim Parks ascribed the never-ending controversy surrounding the decisions of the Nobel Committee to the "essential silliness of the prize and our own foolishness at taking it seriously" and noted that "eighteen (or sixteen) Swedish nationals will have a certain credibility when weighing up works of Swedish literature, but what group could ever really get its mind round the infinitely varied work of scores of different traditions. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_169

And why should we ask them to do that?" Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_170

Although several Scandinavians were awarded, two of the most celebrated writers, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen and Swedish author August Strindberg were repeatedly bypassed by the committee, but Strindberg holds the singular distinction of being awarded an Anti-Nobel Prize, conferred by popular acclaim and national subscription and presented to him in 1912 by future prime minister Hjalmar Branting. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_171

Paul Valéry was nominated twelve times between 1930 and 1945, but died just as the Academy intended to award him the prize in 1945. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_172

James Joyce wrote the books that rank 1st and 3rd on the Modern Library 100 Best NovelsUlysses and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – but Joyce was never nominated for the prize. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_173

Kjell Espmark, member of the Nobel Prize committee and author of the history of the prize, claimed that Joyce's "stature was not properly recognized even in the English-speaking world", but that Joyce doubtless would have been awarded if he had lived in the late 1940s when the Academy began to award literary pioneers like T. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_174 S. Eliot. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_175

Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges was nominated for the Prize several times but the Academy did not award it to him, though he was among the final candidates some years in the 1960s. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_176

Graham Greene was nominated for the prize twenty times between the years 1950 and 1966. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_177

Greene was a celebrated candidate to be awarded the prize in the 1960s and 1970s, and the Academy was criticised for passing him over. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_178

According to Swedish Academy archives studied by the newspaper Le Monde on their opening in 2008, French novelist and intellectual André Malraux was seriously considered for the prize in the 1950s. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_179

Malraux was competing with Albert Camus but was rejected several times, especially in 1954 and 1955, "so long as he does not come back to novel". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_180

Thus, Camus was awarded the prize in 1957. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_181

W. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_182 H. Auden was nominated to the Nobel Prize in Literature ten times in the 1960s and was among the final candidates for the prize several times, but the Academy favoured other writers. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_183

In 1964 Auden and Jean-Paul Sartre were the leading candidates, and the Academy favoured Sartre as Auden's best work was thought "too far back in time". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_184

In 1967 Auden was one of three final candidates along with Graham Greene and the awarded Guatemalan author Miguel Ángel Asturias. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_185

Controversies about Swedish Academy board members Nobel Prize in Literature_section_14

Membership in the 18-member committee, who select the recipients, is technically for life. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_186

Members are not allowed to leave, although they might refuse to participate. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_187

For members who do not participate their board seat is left vacant until they die. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_188

Twelve active/participating members are required for a quorum. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_189

In 1989, three members resigned in protest after the academy refused to denounce Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini for calling for the death of Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_190

2018 controversy and award cancellation Nobel Prize in Literature_section_15

In April 2018, three members of the academy board resigned in response to a sexual-misconduct investigation involving author Jean-Claude Arnault, who is married to board member Katarina Frostenson. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_191

Arnault was accused by at least 18 women of sexual assault and harassment. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_192

He and his wife were also accused of leaking the names of prize recipients on at least seven occasions so friends could profit from bets. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_193

He denied all accusations, although he was later convicted of rape and sentenced to two years and six months in prison. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_194

The three members resigned in protest over the decision by Sara Danius, the board secretary, not to take what they felt was appropriate legal action against Arnault. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_195

Two former permanent secretaries, Sture Allén and Horace Engdahl, called Danius a weak leader. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_196

On 10 April, Danius was asked to resign from her position by the Academy, bringing the number of empty seats to four. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_197

Although the Academy voted against removing Katarina Frostenson from the committee, she voluntarily agreed to withdraw from participating in the academy, bringing the total of withdrawals to five. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_198

Because two other seats were still vacant from the Rushdie affair, this left only 11 active members, one short of the quorum needed to vote in replacements. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_199

On 4 May 2018, the Swedish Academy announced that the selection would be postponed until 2019, when two laureates would be chosen. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_200

It was still technically possible to choose a 2018 laureate, as only eight active members are required to choose a recipient. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_201

However, there were concerns that the academy was not in any condition to credibly present the award. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_202

The New Academy Prize in Literature was created as an alternative award for 2018 only. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_203

The scandal was widely seen as damaging to the credibility of the prize and its authority. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_204

"With this scandal you cannot possibly say that this group of people has any kind of solid judgment," noted Swedish journalist Björn Wiman. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_205

As noted by Andrew Brown in The Guardian in a lengthy deconstruction of the scandal: Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_206

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden said a reform of the rules may be evaluated, including the introduction of the right to resign in respect of the current lifelong membership of the committee. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_207

On 5 March 2019, it was announced that the Nobel Prize in Literature would once again be awarded, and laureates for both 2018 and 2019 would be announced together. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_208

The decision came after several changes were made to the structure of the Swedish Academy as well as to the Nobel Committee members selection, in order to "[restore] trust in the Academy as a prize-awarding institution". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_209

Similar international prizes Nobel Prize in Literature_section_16

The Nobel Prize in Literature is not the only literary prize for which all nationalities are eligible. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_210

Other notable international literary prizes include the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Franz Kafka Prize, the International Booker Prize when it was previously awarded for a writer's entire body of work, and in the 1960s the Formentor Prix International. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_211

In contrast to the other prizes mentioned, the Neustadt International Prize is awarded biennially. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_212

The journalist Hephzibah Anderson has noted that the International Booker Prize "is fast becoming the more significant award, appearing an ever more competent alternative to the Nobel". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_213

However since 2016 the International Booker Prize now awards an annual book of fiction translated into English. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_214

Previous winners of the International Booker Prize who have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature includes Alice Munro and Olga Tokarczuk. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_215

The Neustadt International Prize for Literature is regarded as one of the most prestigious international literary prizes, often referred to as the American equivalent to the Nobel Prize. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_216

Like the Nobel Prize, it is awarded not for any one work, but for an entire body of work. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_217

It is frequently seen as an indicator of who may be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_218

Gabriel García Márquez (1972 Neustadt, 1982 Nobel), Czesław Miłosz (1978 Neustadt, 1980 Nobel), Octavio Paz (1982 Neustadt, 1990 Nobel), Tomas Tranströmer (1990 Neustadt, 2011 Nobel) were first awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature before being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_219

Another award of note is the Spanish Princess of Asturias Award (formerly Prince of Asturias Award) in Letters. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_220

During the first years of its existence it was almost exclusively awarded to writers in the Spanish language, but in more recent times writers in other languages have been awarded as well. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_221

Writers who have won both the Asturias Award in Letters and the Nobel Prize in Literature include Camilo José Cela, Günter Grass, Doris Lessing and Mario Vargas Llosa. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_222

The America Award in Literature, which does not include a monetary prize, presents itself as an alternative to the Nobel Prize in Literature. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_223

To date, Harold Pinter, José Saramago, and Peter Handke are the only writers to have received both the America Award and the Nobel Prize in Literature. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_224

There are also prizes for honouring the lifetime achievement of writers in specific languages, like the Miguel de Cervantes Prize (for Spanish language, established in 1976) and the Camões Prize (for Portuguese language, established in 1989). Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_225

Nobel laureates who were also awarded the Miguel de Cervantes Prize include Octavio Paz (1981 Cervantes, 1990 Nobel); Mario Vargas Llosa (1994 Cervantes, 2010 Nobel); and Camilo José Cela (1995 Cervantes, 1989 Nobel). Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_226

José Saramago is the only author to receive both the Camões Prize (1995) and the Nobel Prize (1998) to date. Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_227

The Hans Christian Andersen Award is sometimes referred to as "the Little Nobel". Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_228

The award has earned this appellation since, in a similar manner to the Nobel Prize in Literature, it recognizes the lifetime achievement of writers, though the Andersen Award focuses on a single category of literary works (children's literature). Nobel Prize in Literature_sentence_229

See also Nobel Prize in Literature_section_17

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel Prize in Literature.