List of Nobel laureates in Literature

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Horace Engdahl, the former permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, announcing that Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio was awarded 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.[3] Each recipient receives a medal, a diploma and a monetary award prize that has varied throughout the years.[4] In 1901, Prudhomme received 150,782 SEK, which is equivalent to 8,823,637.78 SEK in January 2018. The award is presented in Stockholm at an annual ceremony on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death.[5]

As of 2020 , the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to 117 individuals.[6] When he received the award in 1958, Russian-born Boris Pasternak was forced to publicly reject the award under pressure from the government of the Soviet Union. In 1964, Jean-Paul Sartre made known that he did not wish to accept the Nobel Prize in Literature,[7] as he had consistently refused all official honors in the past.[8] However the Nobel committee does not acknowledge refusals, and includes Pasternak and Sartre in its list of Nobel laureates.[9]

Sixteen women have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, the second highest number of any of the Nobel Prizes behind the Nobel Peace Prize.[10][11] There have been four instances in which the award was given to two people (1904, 1917, 1966, 1974). There have been seven years in which the Nobel Prize in Literature was not awarded (1914, 1918, 1935, 1940–1943). There have been three years for which the Nobel Prize in Literature was delayed one year: the prizes for 1915,[12] 1949[13] and 2018[14][15][6]were each awarded together with that of the following year in October of the following year. As of 2020, there have been 30 English-speaking winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature, followed by French and German with 14 winners each.

Laureates[edit]

Year Picture Laureate Country Language(s) Citation Genre(s)
1901 Sully-Prudhomme.jpg Sully Prudhomme
(1839 – 1907)
 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"[16] poetry, essay
1902 T-mommsen-2.jpg Theodor Mommsen
(1817 – 1903)
 Germany German "the greatest living master of the art of historical writing, with special reference to his monumental work A History of Rome"[17] history, law
1903 Portrett av Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, 1909 - no-nb digifoto 20150129 00043 bldsa BB0791 - Restoration.jpg Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
(1832 – 1910)
 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"[18] poetry, novel, drama
1904 Frederic Mistral portrait photo.jpg Frédéric Mistral
(1830 – 1914)
 France Provençal "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"[19] poetry, philology
José Echegaray y Eizaguirre.jpg José Echegaray
(1830 – 1914)
 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"[19] drama
1905 Henryk Sienkiewicz 1905.jpg Henryk Sienkiewicz
(1846 – 1916)
Poland
( Russian Empire)
Polish "because of his outstanding merits as an epic writer"[20] novel
1906 Giosuè Carducci2.jpg Giosuè Carducci
(1835 – 1907)
 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"[21] poetry
1907 Rudyard Kipling (portrait).jpg Rudyard Kipling
(1846 – 1936)
 United Kingdom English "in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration that characterize the creations of this world-famous author"[22] novel, short story, poetry
1908 Eucken-im-Alter.png Rudolf Christoph Eucken
(1846 – 1926)
 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"[23] philosophy
1909 Selma Lagerlöf.jpg Selma Lagerlöf
(1858 – 1940)
 Sweden Swedish "in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings"[24] novel, short story
1910 Paul Heyse 1910.jpg Paul von Heyse
(1830 – 1914)
 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"[25] poetry, drama, novel, short story
1911 Maurice Maeterlinck's Portrait.jpg Maurice Maeterlinck
(1862 – 1949)
 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"[26] drama, poetry, essay
1912 Gerhart Hauptmann nobel.jpg Gerhart Hauptmann
(1862 – 1949)
 Germany German "primarily in recognition of his fruitful, varied and outstanding production in the realm of dramatic art"[27] drama, novel
1913 Rabindranath Tagore in 1909.jpg Rabindranath Tagore
(1861 – 1941)
 India
( British Empire)
Bengali and English "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"[28] poetry, novel, drama, short story, music, essay, philosophy, literary criticism, translation
1914 Not awarded
1915 Romain Rolland 1915.jpg Romain Rolland
(1866 – 1940)
 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"[12] novel
1916 Verner von Heidenstam in the 1890s.jpg Verner von Heidenstam
(1859 – 1940)
 Sweden Swedish "in recognition of his significance as the leading representative of a new era in our literature"[29] poetry, novel
1917 Karl Gjellerup.jpg Karl Adolph Gjellerup
(1857 – 1919)
 Denmark Danish "for his varied and rich poetry, which is inspired by lofty ideals"[30] poetry
Henrik Pontoppidan 1917.jpg Henrik Pontoppidan
(1857 – 1943)
 Denmark Danish "for his authentic descriptions of present-day life in Denmark"[30] novel
1918 Not awarded
1919 Carl Spitteler 1919.jpg Carl Spitteler
(1845 – 1924)
  Switzerland German "in special appreciation of his epic, Olympian Spring"[31] poetry
1920 Hamsun bldsa HA0341.jpg Knut Hamsun
(1859 – 1952)
 Norway Norwegian "for his monumental work, Growth of the Soil"[32] novel
1921 Anatole France 1893.jpg Anatole France
(1844 – 1924)
 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"[33] novel, poetry
1922 Jacinto Benavente y Martinez.jpg Jacinto Benavente
(1866 – 1954)
 Spain Spanish "for the happy manner in which he has continued the illustrious traditions of the Spanish drama"[34] drama
1923 Yeats1923.jpg William Butler Yeats
(1865 – 1939)
 Ireland English "for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation"[35] poetry
1924 Wladyslaw Reymont 1924.jpg Władysław Reymont
(1867 – 1925)
 Poland Polish "for his great national epic, The Peasants"[36] novel
1925 George Bernard Shaw 1934-12-06.jpg George Bernard Shaw
(1856 – 1950)
 Ireland[37] English "for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty"[38] drama, literary criticism
1926 Grazia Deledda 1926.jpg Grazia Deledda
(1871 – 1936)
 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"[39] poetry, novel
1927 Bergson-Nobel-photo.jpg Henri Bergson
(1859 – 1941)
 France French "in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented"[40] philosophy
1928 Sigrid Undset 1928.jpg Sigrid Undset
(1882 – 1949)
 Norway
(Born in Denmark)
Norwegian "principally for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages"[41] novel
1929 Thomas Mann 1929.jpg Thomas Mann
(1875 – 1955)
 Germany German "principally for his great novel, Buddenbrooks, which has won steadily increased recognition as one of the classic works of contemporary literature"[42] novel, short story, essay
1930 Sinclair Lewis 1930.jpg Sinclair Lewis
(1885 – 1951)
 United States English "for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters"[43] novel, short story, drama
1931 Erik Axel Karlfeldt 1931.jpg Erik Axel Karlfeldt
(1864 – 1931)
 Sweden Swedish "The poetry of Erik Axel Karlfeldt"[44] poetry
1932 John Galsworthy 2.jpg John Galsworthy
(1867 – 1933)
 United Kingdom English "for his distinguished art of narration, which takes its highest form in The Forsyte Saga"[45] novel
1933 Ivan Bunin 1933.jpg Ivan Bunin
(1870 – 1953)
Stateless
(Born in Russian Empire)
Russian "for the strict artistry with which he has carried on the classical Russian traditions in prose writing"[46] short story, poetry, novel
1934 Luigi Pirandello 1932.jpg Luigi Pirandello
(1867 – 1936)
 Italy Italian "for his bold and ingenious revival of dramatic and scenic art"[47] drama, novel, short story
1935 Not awarded
1936 Eugene O'Neill 1936.jpg Eugene O'Neill
(1888 – 1953)
 United States English "for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy"[48] drama
1937 Roger Martin du Gard 1937.jpg Roger Martin du Gard
(1881 – 1958)
 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"[49] novel
1938 Pearl Buck (Nobel).jpg Pearl Buck (1892 – 1973)  United States English "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces"[50] novel, biography
1939 FransEemilSillanpää.jpg Frans Eemil Sillanpää
(1888 – 1964)
 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"[51] novel
1940 Not awarded
1941 Not awarded
1942 Not awarded
1943 Not awarded
1944 Johannes Vilhelm Jensen 1944.jpg Johannes Vilhelm Jensen
(1873 – 1950)
 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"[52] novel, short story
1945 Gabriela Mistral 1945.jpg Gabriela Mistral
(1889 – 1957)
 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"[53] poetry
1946 Hermann Hesse 1946.jpg Hermann Hesse
(1877 – 1962)
 Germany
  Switzerland
(Born in Germany)
German "for his inspired writings, which while growing in boldness and penetration, exemplify the classical humanitarian ideals and high qualities of style"[54] novel, poetry
1947 André Gide.jpg André Gide
(1869 – 1951)
 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"[55] novel, essay
1948 TS Eliot.jpg Thomas Stearns Eliot
(1888 – 1965)
 United Kingdom
(Born in the United States)
English "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry"[56] poetry
1949 Carl Van Vechten - William Faulkner (greyscale and cropped).jpg William Faulkner
(1897 – 1962)
 United States English "for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel"[13] novel, short story
1950 Bertrand Russell 1957.jpg Bertrand Russell
(1872 – 1970)
 United Kingdom English "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought"[57] philosophy
1951 Lagerkvist.jpg Pär Lagerkvist
(1891 – 1974)
 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"[58] poetry, novel, short story, drama
1952 François Mauriac 1952.jpg François Mauriac
(1885 – 1970)
 France French "for the deep spiritual insight and the artistic intensity with which he has in his novels penetrated the drama of human life"[59] novel, short story
1953 Winston Churchill cph.3a49758.jpg Winston Churchill
(1874 – 1965)
 United Kingdom English "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values"[60] history, essay, memoirs
1954 Ernest Hemingway 1950 crop.jpg Ernest Hemingway
(1899 – 1961)
 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"[61] novel, short story, screenplay
1955 Halldór Kiljan Laxness 1955.jpg Halldór Laxness
(1902 – 1998)
 Iceland Icelandic "for his vivid epic power, which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland"[62] novel, short story, drama, poetry
1956 JRJimenez.JPG Juan Ramón Jiménez
(1881 – 1958)
 Spain Spanish "for his lyrical poetry, which in Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistical purity"[63] poetry
1957 Camus Harcourt 1945.jpg Albert Camus
(1913 – 1960)
 France
(Born in French Algeria)
French "for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times"[64] novel, short story, drama, philosophy, essay
1958 Boris Pasternak 1920s.png Boris Pasternak
(1890 – 1960)
 Soviet Union Russian "for his important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition"[65] novel, poetry, translation
1959 Salvatore Quasimodo 1959.jpg Salvatore Quasimodo
(1890 – 1960)
 Italy Italian "for his lyrical poetry, which with classical fire expresses the tragic experience of life in our own times"[66] poetry
1960 Saint-John Perse 1960.jpg Saint-John Perse
(1887 – 1975)
 France
(Born in Guadeloupe)
French "for the soaring flight and the evocative imagery of his poetry, which in a visionary fashion reflects the conditions of our time"[67] poetry
1961 S. Kragujevic, Ivo Andric, 1961.jpg Ivo Andrić
(1892 – 1975)
 Yugoslavia
(Born in Austria-Hungary)
Serbo-Croatian "for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country"[68] novel, short story
1962 John-Steinbeck-1939.jpg John Steinbeck
(1902 – 1968)
 United States English "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception"[69] novel, short story, screenplay
1963 Giorgos Seferis 1963.jpg Giorgos Seferis
(1900 – 1971)
 Greece
(Born in the Ottoman Empire)
Greek "for his eminent lyrical writing, inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture"[70] poetry, essay, memoirs
1964 Jean Paul Sartre 1965.jpg Jean-Paul Sartre
(1905 – 1980)
 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"[71] novel, short story, philosophy, drama, literary criticism, screenplay
1965 Mikhail Sholokhov 1960.jpg Mikhail Sholokhov
(1905 – 1984)
 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"[72] novel
1966 Agnon.jpg Shmuel Yosef Agnon
(1888 – 1970)
 Israel
(Born in Austria-Hungary)
Hebrew "for his profoundly characteristic narrative art with motifs from the life of the Jewish people"[73] novel, short story
Nelly Sachs 1966.jpg Nelly Sachs
(1891 – 1970)
 Germany
 Sweden
(Born in Germany)
German "for her outstanding lyrical and dramatic writing, which interprets Israel's destiny with touching strength"[73] poetry, drama
1967 Miguel Angel Asturias.jpg Miguel Ángel Asturias
(1899 – 1974)
 Guatemala Spanish "for his vivid literary achievement, deep-rooted in the national traits and traditions of Indian peoples of Latin America"[74] novel, poetry
1968 Yasunari Kawabata 1968 cropped.jpg Yasunari Kawabata
(1899 – 1972)
 Japan Japanese "for his narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind"[75] novel, short story
1969 Samuel Beckett, Pic, 1 (cropped).jpg Samuel Beckett
(1906 – 1989)
 Ireland French and English "for his writing, which - in new forms for the novel and drama - in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation"[76] novel, drama, poetry
1970 Solzhenitsyn.jpg Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
(1918 – 2008)
 Soviet Union Russian "for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature"[77] novel
1971 Pablo Neruda 1963.jpg Pablo Neruda
(1904 – 1973)
 Chile Spanish "for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent's destiny and dreams"[78] poetry
1972 Heinrich Böll (1983).jpg Heinrich Böll
(1917 – 1985)
 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"[79] novel, short story
1973 Patrick White 1973.jpg Patrick White
(1912 – 1990)
 Australia
(Born in the United Kingdom)
English "for an epic and psychological narrative art, which has introduced a new continent into literature"[80] novel, short story, drama
1974 Eyvind.JPG Eyvind Johnson
(1900 – 1976)
 Sweden Swedish "for a narrative art, farseeing in lands and ages, in the service of freedom"[81] novel
Harry Martinson 001.tiff Harry Martinson
(1904 – 1978)
 Sweden Swedish "for writings that catch the dewdrop and reflect the cosmos"[81] poetry, novel, drama
1975 Eugenio Montale.jpg Eugenio Montale
(1896 – 1981)
 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"[82] poetry
1976 Saul Bellow (Herzog portrait).jpg Saul Bellow
(1915 – 2005)
 United States
(Born in Canada)
English "for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work"[83] novel, short story
1977 Vicentealeixandre.jpg Vicente Aleixandre
(1898 – 1984)
 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"[84] poetry
1978 Dan Hadani collection (990044399930205171).jpg Isaac Bashevis Singer
(1902 – 1991)
 United States
 Poland
Yiddish "for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life"[85] novel, short story, memoirs
1979 Odysseas Elytis 1974.jpg Odysseas Elytis
(1911 – 1996)
 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"[86] poetry, essay
1980 Czeslaw Milosz 3 ap.tif Czesław Miłosz
(1911 – 2004)
 United States
 Poland
Polish "who with uncompromising clear-sightedness voices man's exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts"[87] poetry, essay
1981 Elias Canetti 2.jpg Elias Canetti
(1905 – 1994)
 United Kingdom
(Born in Bulgaria)
German "for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power"[88] novel, drama, memoirs, essay
1982 Gabriel García Márquez 02.jpg Gabriel García Márquez
(1927 – 2014)
 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"[89] novel, short story, screenplay
1983 William Golding 1983.jpg William Golding
(1911 – 1993)
 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"[90] novel, poetry, drama
1984 Jaroslav Seifert 1981 foto Hana Hamplová crop.jpg Jaroslav Seifert
(1901 – 1986)
 Czechoslovakia
(Born in Austria-Hungary)
Czech "for his poetry, which endowed with freshness, and rich inventiveness provides a liberating image of the indomitable spirit and versatility of man"[91] poetry
1985 Claude Simon 1967.jpg Claude Simon
(1913 – 2005)
 France
(Born in French Madagascar)
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"[92] novel, literary criticism
1986 WoleSoyinka2015.jpg Wole Soyinka
(b. 1934)
 Nigeria English "who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence"[93] drama, novel, poetry, screenplay
1987 Joseph Brodsky 1988.jpg Joseph Brodsky
(1940 – 1996)
 United States
(Born in the Soviet Union)
Russian and English "for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity"[94] poetry, essay
1988 Necip Mahfuz.jpg Naguib Mahfouz
(1911 – 2006)
 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"[95] novel, short story
1989 Camilo José Cela Madrid 1996.jpg Camilo José Cela
(1916 – 2002)
 Spain Spanish "for a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man's vulnerability"[96] novel, short story, essay, poetry
1990 Paz0.jpg Octavio Paz
(1914 – 1998)
 Mexico Spanish "for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity"[97] poetry, essay
1991 Nadine Gordimer 01.JPG Nadine Gordimer
(1923 – 2014)
 South Africa English "who through her magnificent epic writing has - in the words of Alfred Nobel - been of very great benefit to humanity"[98] novel, short story, essay, drama
1992 Derek Walcott.jpg Derek Walcott
(1930 – 2017)
 Saint Lucia English "for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment"[99] poetry, drama
1993 Toni Morrison.jpg Toni Morrison
(1931 – 2019)
 United States English "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality"[100] novel
1994 Oe Kenzaburo 1-2.jpg Kenzaburō Ōe
(b. 1935)
 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"[101] novel, short story, essay
1995 Seamus Heaney Photograph Edit.jpg Seamus Heaney
(1939 – 2013)
 Ireland English "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past"[102] poetry, drama, translation
1996 Wisława Szymborska 2009.10.23 (1).jpg Wisława Szymborska
(1923 – 2012)
 Poland Polish "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality"[103] poetry, essay, translation
1997 DarioFo1.jpg Dario Fo
(1926 – 2016)
 Italy Italian "who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden"[104] drama, songwriting
1998 JSJoseSaramago.jpg José Saramago
(1922 – 2010)
 Portugal Portuguese "who with parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality"[105] novel, drama, poetry
1999 Günter Grass auf dem Blauen Sofa.jpg Günter Grass
(1927 – 2015)
 Germany (born in Free City of Danzig) German "whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history"[106] novel, drama, poetry
2000 Gao Xingjian (2012, cropped).jpg Gao Xingjian
(b. 1940)
 France (since 1998)
 China (1940–1998)
Chinese "for an oeuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama"[107] novel, drama, literary criticism
2001 VS Naipaul 2016 Dhaka (cropped).jpg Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul
(1932 – 2018)
 United Kingdom
(Born in Trinidad & Tobago)
English "for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories"[108] novel, essay
2002 Kertész Imre cropped.jpg Imre Kertész
(1929 – 2016)
 Hungary Hungarian "for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history"[109] novel
2003 JM Coetzee redux.jpg John Maxwell Coetzee
(b. 1940)
 Australia
 South Africa
English "who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider"[110] novel, essay, translation
2004 Elfriede jelinek 2004 small.jpg Elfriede Jelinek
(b. 1946)
 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"[111] novel, drama
2005 Pinterfoto cropped2.jpg Harold Pinter
(1930 – 2008)
 United Kingdom English "who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms"[112] drama, screenplay
2006 Orhan Pamuk redux.jpg Orhan Pamuk
(b. 1952)
 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"[113] novel, screenplay, autobiography, essay
2007 Doris lessing 20060312 (square).jpg Doris Lessing
(1919 – 2013)
 United Kingdom
 Zimbabwe
(born in Iran)
English "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny"[114] novel, drama, poetry, short story, memoirs, autobiography
2008 Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio-press conference Dec 06th, 2008-2.jpg Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio
(b. 1940)
 France
 Mauritius
French "author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization"[115] novel, short story, essay, translation
2009 Herta Müller (2019).jpg Herta Müller
(b. 1953)
 Germany
(Born in Romania)
German "who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed"[116] novel, short story, poetry, essay
2010 Vargas Llosa Madrid 2012.jpg Mario Vargas Llosa
(b. 1936)
 Peru
 Spain
Spanish "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat"[117] novel, short story, essay, drama, memoirs
2011 Transtroemer.jpg Tomas Tranströmer
(1931 – 2015)
 Sweden Swedish "because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality"[118] poetry, translation
2012 MoYan Hamburg 2008.jpg Mo Yan
(b. 1955)
 China Chinese "who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary"[119] novel, short story
2013 Alice Munro.jpg Alice Munro
(b. 1931)
 Canada English "master of the contemporary short story"[120] short story
2014 Patrick Modiano 6 dec 2014 - 22.jpg Patrick Modiano
(b. 1945)
 France French "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation"[121] novel, screenplay
2015 Світлана Алексієвич (Київ, 2016) 08 (cropped).JPG Svetlana Alexievich
(b. 1948)
 Belarus
(Born in the Soviet Union)
Russian "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time"[122] history, essay
2016 Bob Dylan - Azkena Rock Festival 2010 1.jpg Bob Dylan
(b. 1941)
 United States English "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition"[123] poetry, songwriting
2017 Kazuo Ishiguro in Stockholm 2017 02.jpg Kazuo Ishiguro
(b. 1954)
 United Kingdom (born in Japan) English "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world"[124] novel, screenplay, short story
2018 Olga Tokarczuk (2018).jpg Olga Tokarczuk
(b. 1962)
 Poland Polish “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life”[125] novel, short story, poetry, essay, screenplay
2019 Peter-handke.jpg Peter Handke
(b. 1942)
 Austria German "for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience."[126] novel, short story, drama, translation, screenplay
2020 Louise Glück circa 1977.jpg Louise Glück
(b. 1943)
 United States English "for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal."[127] poetry, essay

Nobel laureates by country[edit]

The 117 Nobel laureates in literature from 1901 to 2020 have come from the following countries:

Country Number
France 17
United States 13
United Kingdom 11
Germany 10
Sweden 8
Poland 6
Spain 6
Italy 6
Ireland 4
Russia/USSR 4
Denmark 3
Norway 3
Chile 2
Greece 2
Japan 2
South Africa 2
Switzerland 2
Austria 2
Australia 1
Belarus 1
Belgium 1
Bulgaria 1
Canada 1
China 1
Colombia 1
Czechoslovakia 1
Egypt 1
Finland 1
Guatemala 1
Hungary 1
Iceland 1
India 1
Israel 1
Mauritius 1
Mexico 1
Nigeria 1
Peru 1
Portugal 1
Saint Lucia 1
Turkey 1
Yugoslavia 1

One Nobel laureate is classified as stateless (Ivan Bunin, 1933).

Language Number
English 29 (32)1
French 14
German 14
Spanish 11
Swedish 7
Italian 6
Russian 6
Polish 5
Danish 3
Norwegian 3
Chinese 2
Greek 2
Japanese 2
Arabic 1
Bengali 1
Czech 1
Finnish 1
Hebrew 1
Hungarian 1
Icelandic 1
Provençal (Occitan) 1
Portuguese 1
Serbo-Croatian 1
Turkish 1
Yiddish 1

1Rabindranath Tagore (Nobel Prize in Literature 1913) wrote in Bengali and English, Samuel Beckett (Nobel Prize in Literature 1969) wrote in French and English and Joseph Brodsky (Nobel Prize in Literature 1987) wrote poetry in Russian and prose in English. These three Nobel laureates have been sorted under Bengali, French and Russian, respectively.[128]

Nobel laureates by gender[edit]

The 116 Nobel laureates in literature from 1901 to 2020 were from the following sexes :

Decade Male Female
1900–1909 9 1
1910–1919 9 0
1920–1929 8 2
1930–1939 8 1
1940–1949 5 1
1950–1959 10 0
1960–1969 10 1
1970–1979 11 0
1980–1989 10 0
1990–1999 7 3
2000–2009 7 3
2010–2019 7 3
2020–2029 0 1
Total 101 16

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

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

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Sources[edit]