Nobel Laureates in Literature

 

YEAR
LAUREATE
COUNTRY
LANGUAGE
CITATION
1901
Sully
Prudhomme
France
French
"in special recognition of his poetic composition, which gives evidence of lofty idealism, artistic perfection and a rare combination of the qualities of both heart and intellect."
1902
Theodor
Mommsen
Germany
German
"the greatest living master of the art of historical writing, with special reference to his monumental work, A History of Rome"
1903
Bjørnstjerne
Bjørnson
Norway
Norwegian
"as a tribute to his noble, magnificent and versatile poetry, which has always been distinguished by both the freshness of its inspiration and the rare purity of its spirit"
1904
(2)
Frédéric
Mistral
France
Occitan
"in recognition of the fresh originality and true inspiration of his poetic production, which faithfully reflects the natural scenery and native spirit of his people, and, in addition, his significant work as a Provençal philologist"
José
Echegaray
Spain
Spanish
"in recognition of the numerous and brilliant compositions which, in an individual and original manner, have revived the great traditions of the Spanish drama"
1905
Henryk
Sienkiewicz
Poland (Russian Empire)
Polish
"because of his outstanding merits as an epic writer"
1906
Giosuè
Carducci
Italy
Italian
"not only in consideration of his deep learning and critical research, but above all as a tribute to the creative energy, freshness of style, and lyrical force which characterize his poetic masterpieces"
1907
Rudyard
Kipling
United Kingdom
English
"in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author"
1908
Rudolf
Christoph
Eucken
Germany
German
"in recognition of his earnest search for truth, his penetrating power of thought, his wide range of vision, and the warmth and strength in presentation with which in his numerous works he has vindicated and developed an idealistic philosophy of life"
1909
Selma
Lagerlöf
Sweden
Swedish
"in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings"
1910
Paul
von
Heyse
Germany
German
"as a tribute to the consummate artistry, permeated with idealism, which he has demonstrated during his long productive career as a lyric poet, dramatist, novelist and writer of world-renowned short stories"
1911
Maurice
Maeterlinck
Belgium
French
"in appreciation of his many-sided literary activities, and especially of his dramatic works, which are distinguished by a wealth of imagination and by a poetic fancy, which reveals, sometimes in the guise of a fairy tale, a deep inspiration, while in a mysterious way they appeal to the readers' own feelings and stimulate their imaginations"
1912
Gerhart
Hauptmann
Germany
German
"primarily in recognition of his fruitful, varied and outstanding production in the realm of dramatic art"
1913
Rabindranath
Tagore
India
Bengali
"because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West"
1914
     Not awarded
1915
Romain
Rolland
France
French
"as a tribute to the lofty idealism of his literary production and to the sympathy and love of truth with which he has described different types of human beings"
1916
Verner von Heidenstam
Sweden
Swedish
"in recognition of his significance as the leading representative of a new era in our literature"
1917
(2)
Karl
Adolph
Gjellerup
Denmark
Danish
"for his varied and rich poetry, which is inspired by lofty ideals"
Henrik
Pontoppidan
Denmark
Danish
"for his authentic descriptions of present-day life in Denmark"
1918
     Not awarded
1919
Carl
Spitteler
Switzerland
German
"in special appreciation of his epic, Olympian Spring"
1920
Knut
Hamsun
Norway
Norwegian
"for his monumental work, Growth of the Soil"
1921
Anatole
France
France
French
"in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements, characterized as they are by a nobility of style, a profound human sympathy, grace, and a true Gallic temperament"
1922
Jacinto
Benavente
Spain
Spanish
"for the happy manner in which he has continued the illustrious traditions of the Spanish drama"
1923
William
Butler
Yeats
Ireland
English
"for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation"
1924
Władysław
Reymont
Poland
Polish
"for his great national epic, The Peasants"
1925
George
Bernard
Shaw
Ireland
English
"for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty"
1926
Grazia
Deledda
Italy
Italian
"for her idealistically inspired writings which with plastic clarity picture the life on her native island and with depth and sympathy deal with human problems in general"
1927
Henri
Bergson
France
French
"in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented"
1928
Sigrid
Undset
Norway
Norwegian
"principally for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages"
1929
Thomas
Mann
Germany
German
"principally for his great novel, Buddenbrooks, which has won steadily increased recognition as one of the classic works of contemporary literature"
1930
Sinclair
Lewis
United States
English
"for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters"
1931
Erik
Axel
Karlfeldt
Sweden
Swedish
"The poetry of Erik Axel Karlfeldt"
1932
John
Galsworthy
United Kingdom
English
"for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in The Forsyte Saga"
1933
Ivan
Bunin
Russia (exiled to France)
Russian
"for the strict artistry with which he has carried on the classical Russian traditions in prose writing"
1934
Luigi
Pirandello
Italy
Italian
"for his bold and ingenious revival of dramatic and scenic art"
1935
     Not awarded
1936
Eugene
O'Neill
United States
English
"for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy"
1937
Roger
Martin
du Gard
France
French
"for the artistic power and truth with which he has depicted human conflict as well as some fundamental aspects of contemporary life in his novel cycle Les Thibault"
1938
Pearl S.
Buck
United States
English
"for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces"
1939
Frans
Eemil
Sillanpää
Finland
Finnish
"for his deep understanding of his country's peasantry and the exquisite art with which he has portrayed their way of life and their relationship with Nature"
1940
     Not awarded
1941
     Not awarded
1942
     Not awarded
1943
     Not awarded
1944
Johannes
Vilhelm
Jensen
Denmark
Danish
"for the rare strength and fertility of his poetic imagination with which is combined an intellectual curiosity of wide scope and a bold, freshly creative style"
1945
Gabriela
Mistral
Chile
Spanish
"for her lyric poetry which, inspired by powerful emotions, has made her name a symbol of the idealistic aspirations of the entire Latin American world"
1946
Hermann
Hesse
Germany (exiled to Switzerland)
German
"for his inspired writings which, while growing in boldness and penetration, exemplify the classical humanitarian ideals and high qualities of style"
1947
André
Gide
France
French
"for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight"
1948
T. S.
Eliot
United Kingdom
English
"for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry"
1949
William
Faulkner
United States
English
"for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel"
1950
Bertrand
Russell
United Kingdom
English
"in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought"
1951
Pär
Lagerkvist
Sweden
Swedish
"for the artistic vigour and true independence of mind with which he endeavours in his poetry to find answers to the eternal questions confronting mankind"
1952
François
Mauriac
France
French
"for the deep spiritual insight and the artistic intensity with which he has in his novels penetrated the drama of human life"
1953
Winston
Churchill
United Kingdom
English
"for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values"
1954
Ernest
Hemingway
United States
English
"for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style"
1955
Halldór
Laxness
Iceland
Icelandic
"for his vivid epic power which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland"
1956
Juan
Ramón
Jiménez
Spain
Spanish
"for his lyrical poetry, which in Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistical purity"
1957
Albert
Camus
France
French
"for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times"
1958
Boris
Pasternak
Soviet Union
Russian
"for his important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition"
1959
Salvatore
Quasimodo
Italy
Italian
"for his lyrical poetry, which with classical fire expresses the tragic experience of life in our own times"
1960
Saint-John
Perse
France
French
"for the soaring flight and the evocative imagery of his poetry which in a visionary fashion reflects the conditions of our time"
1961
Ivo
Andrić
Yugoslavia
Serbo-Croatian
"for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country"
1962
John
Steinbeck
United States
English
"for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception"
1963
Giorgos
Seferis
Greece
Greek
"for his eminent lyrical writing, inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture"
1964
Jean-Paul
Sartre
France
French
"for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth, has exerted a far-reaching influence on our age"
1965
Mikhail
Sholokhov
Soviet Union
Russian
"for the artistic power and integrity with which, in his epic of the Don, he has given expression to a historic phase in the life of the Russian people"
1966
(2)
Shmuel
Yosef
Agnon
Israel
Hebrew
"for his profoundly characteristic narrative art with motifs from the life of the Jewish people"
Nelly
Sachs
Germany
(exiled to Sweden)
German
"for her outstanding lyrical and dramatic writing, which interprets Israel's destiny with touching strength"
1967
Miguel
Ángel
Asturias
Guatemala
Spanish
"for his vivid literary achievement, deep-rooted in the national traits and traditions of Indian peoples of Latin America"
1968
Kawabata
Yasunari
Japan
Japanese
"for his narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind"
1969
Samuel
Beckett
Ireland
English and French
"for his writing, which - in new forms for the novel and drama - in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation"
1970
Aleksandr
Solzhenitsyn
Russia
Russian
"for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature"
1971
Pablo
Neruda
Chile
Spanish
"for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent's destiny and dreams"
1972
Heinrich
Böll
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"
1973
Patrick
White
Australia
English
"for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature"
1974
(2)
Eyvind
Johnson
Sweden
Swedish
"for a narrative art, farseeing in lands and ages, in the service of freedom"
Harry
Martinson
Sweden
Swedish
"for writings that catch the dewdrop and reflect the cosmos"
1975
Eugenio
Montale
Italy
Italian
"for his distinctive poetry which, with great artistic sensitivity, has interpreted human values under the sign of an outlook on life with no illusions"
1976
Saul
Bellow
United States
English
"for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work"
1977
Vicente
Aleixandre
Spain
Spanish
"for a creative poetic writing which illuminates man's condition in the cosmos and in present-day society, at the same time representing the great renewal of the traditions of Spanish poetry between the wars"
1978
Isaac
Bashevis
Singer
United States
Yiddish
"for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life"
1979
Odysseas
Elytis
Greece
Greek
"for his poetry, which, against the background of Greek tradition, depicts with sensuous strength and intellectual clear-sightedness modern man's struggle for freedom and creativeness"
1980
Czesław
Miłosz
Poland
United States
Polish
"who with uncompromising clear-sightedness voices man's exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts"
1981
Elias
Canetti
Bulgaria
United Kingdom
German
"for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power"
1982
Gabriel
García
Márquez
Colombia
Spanish
"for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts"
1983
William
Golding
United Kingdom
English
"for his novels which, with the perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world of today"
1984
Jaroslav
Seifert
Czechoslovakia
Czech
"for his poetry which endowed with freshness, and rich inventiveness provides a liberating image of the indomitable spirit and versatility of man"
1985
Claude
Simon
France
French
"who in his novel combines the poet's and the painter's creativeness with a deepened awareness of time in the depiction of the human condition"
1986
Wole
Soyinka
Nigeria
English
"who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence"
1987
Joseph
Brodsky
Soviet Union
United States
English and Russian
"for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity"
1988
Naguib
Mahfouz
Egypt
Arabic
"who, through works rich in nuance - now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous - has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind"
1989
Camilo
José
Cela
Spain
Spanish
"for a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man's vulnerability"
1990
Octavio
Paz
Mexico
Spanish
"for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity"
1991
Nadine
Gordimer
South Africa
English
"who through her magnificent epic writing has - in the words of Alfred Nobel - been of very great benefit to humanity"
1992
Derek
Walcott
Saint Lucia
English
"for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment"
1993
Toni
Morrison
United States
English
"who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality"
1994
Kenzaburō
Ōe
Japan
Japanese
"who with poetic force creates an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today"
1995
Seamus
Heaney
Ireland
English
"for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past"
1996
Wisława
Szymborska
Poland
Polish
"for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality"
1997
Dario
Fo
Italy
Italian
"who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden"
1998
José
Saramago
Portugal
Portuguese
"who with parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality"
1999
Günter
Grass
Germany
German
"whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history"
2000
Gao
Xingjian
China (exiled to France)
Chinese
"for an oeuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama"
2001
V. S.
Naipaul
United Kingdom
Trinidad & Tobago
English
"for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories"
2002
Imre
Kertész
Hungary
Hungarian
"for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history"
2003
J. M.
Coetzee
South Africa
English
"who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider"
2004
Elfriede
Jelinek
Austria
German
"for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power"
2005
Pinterfoto cropped2.jpg Harold
Pinter
United Kingdom
English
"who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms"
2006
Orhan
Pamuk
Turkey
Turkish
"who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures"
2007
Doris
Lessing
United Kingdom
English
"that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny"
2008
J. M. G.
Le Clézio
France
Mauritius
French
"author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization"
2009
Herta
Müller
Germany
Romania
German
"who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed"
2010
Mario
Vargas
Llosa
Peru
Spain
Spanish
"for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat"
2011
Tomas
Tranströmer
Sweden
Swedish
"through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality."
2012
Mo
Yan
China
Chinese
"with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary."
2013
Alice
Munro
Canada
English
"master of the contemporary short story."
2014
Patrick
Modiano
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"
2015
Svetlana
Alexievich
Belorus
Russian
"for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time"
2016
Bob
Dylan
United States
English
"for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition"