The Nobel award for Literature is awarded to an author for his works in the field of literature (here ‘works’ is considered as entire works of the author/writer). The language is not taken into consideration while awarding the Nobel.


The prize is awarded since 1901 and is named after Alfred Nobel. According to his will, a series of prizes are to be awarded to those people who confer greatest benefit to mankind. The Swedish Academy decides the distribution of the prize.

The Nobel Prize is the highest and the richest literary award to be awarded. The award prize includes Nobel Prize medal, a diploma bearing a citation and a cash prize of ten million Swedish kronor ($1,356,610).


Some of writers winning the Nobel include-

Rabindranath Tagore, Rudyard Kipling, Sully Prudhomme, Anatole France, Octavio Paz, George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, Sinclair Lewis, Thomas Stearns Eliot, Ernest Miller Hemingway, Albert Camus, Odysseus Elytis, Claude Simon, Thomas Transtromer, John E. Coetzee, Doris Lessing, Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Nelly Sachs, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, Eugene Gladstone O'Neill, Isaac Bashevis Singer.

The Nobel Prize for literature was not awarded in 1914, 1918, 1935, 1940, 1941, 1942 and 1943. The prize was shared on 4 occasions in 1904, 1917, 1966 and 1974. In the history of the prize, 2 people have declined it; 9 people have won the award for a particular literary work. There is a total of 108 Nobel Laureates in Literature (from 1901-2011). Out of the 108 there are 12 women writers who are literature laureates.

The nominations are kept secret for 50 years. But, 11 authors have won the Nobel in the same year of their nomination. Rudyard Kipling (42) was the youngest writer to grab the Nobel literature, while Doris Lessing (88) is the oldest. No multiple awards are given to any writer. In 1931, Eric Axel Karlfeldt was awarded Nobel Literature on posthumous bases. Controversies were also a part of the Nobel Awards, often following political and extra-literary reasons. It was also said that Nobel Award is Eurocentric and European authors are preferred over other nationality authors following 2009’s prize.

Nobel is an elite literary award given to any writer for his outstanding contribution in the field of literature. It thus has a great importance in every work ever published.