Nobel Laureates in Literature

  • 2023
    Jon FosseNorway
    ” for his innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable ”
  • 2022
    Annie ErnauxFrance
    ”for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory”
  • 2021
    Abdulrazak GurnahUnited Kingdom (born in Zanzibar)
    ”for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents”
  • 2020
    Louise GlückUSA
    ”for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”
  • 2019
    Peter HandkeAustria
    ”for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience”
  • 2018
    Olga TokarczukPoland
    ”for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life”
  • 2017
    Kazuo IshiguroUnited Kingdom (born in Japan)
    ”who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”
  • 2016
    Bob DylanUSA
    ”for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”
  • 2015
    Svetlana AleksijevitjBelarus
    ”for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”
  • 2014
    Patrick ModianoFrance
    ”for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation”
  • 2013
    Alice MunroCanada
    ”master of the contemporary short story”
  • 2012
    Mo YanChina
    ”who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary”
  • 2011
    Tomas TranströmerSweden
    ”because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality”
  • 2010
    Mario Vargas LlosaPeru
    ”for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat”
  • 2009
    Herta MüllerGermany (born in Romania)
    ”who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed”
  • 2008
    Jean-Marie Gustave Le ClézioFrance
    ”author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization”
  • 2007
    Doris LessingUnited Kingdom
    ”that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”
  • 2006
    Orhan PamukTurkey
    ”who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures”
  • 2005
    Harold PinterUnited Kingdom
    ”who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms”
  • 2004
    Elfriede JelinekAustria
    ”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”
  • 2003
    J.M. CoetzeeSouth Africa
    ”who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider”
  • 2002
    Imre KertészHungary
    ”for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history”
  • 2001
    V.S. NaipaulUnited Kingdom (born in Trinidad)
    ”for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories”
  • 2000
    Gao XingjianFrance (born in China)
    ”for an æuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama”
  • 1999
    Günter GrassGermany
    ”whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history”
  • 1998
    José SaramagoPortugal
    ”who with parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality”
  • 1997
    Dario FoItaly
    ”who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden”
  • 1996
    Wislawa SzymborskaPoland
    ”for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality”
  • 1995
    Seamus HeaneyIreland
    ”for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”
  • 1994
    Kenzaburo OeJapan
    ”who with poetic force creates an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today”
  • 1993
    Toni MorrisonUSA
    ”who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality”
  • 1992
    Derek WalcottSt. Lucia
    ”for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment”
  • 1991
    Nadine GordimerSouth Africa
    ”who through her magnificent epic writing has – in the words of Alfred Nobel – been of very great benefit to humanity”
  • 1990
    Octavio PazMexico
    ”for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity”
  • 1989
    Camilo José CelaSpain
    ”for a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man’s vulnerability”
  • 1988
    Naguib MahfouzEgypt
    ”who, through works rich in nuance – now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous – has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind”
  • 1987
    Joseph BrodskyUSA (born in the Soviet Union)
    ”for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity”
  • 1986
    Wole SoyinkaNigeria
    ”who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence”
  • 1985
    Claude SimonFrance
    ”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”
  • 1984
    Jaroslav SeifertCzechoslovakia
    ”for his poetry which endowed with freshness, sensuality and rich inventiveness provides a liberating image of the indomitable spirit and versatility of man”
  • 1983
    William GoldingUnited Kingdom
    ”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”
  • 1982
    Gabriel García MárquezColombia
    ”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”
  • 1981
    Elias CanettiUnited Kingdom (born in Bulgaria)
    ”for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power”
  • 1980
    Czeslaw MiloszUSA and Poland (born in Lithuania)
    ”who with uncompromising clear-sightedness voices man’s exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts”
  • 1979
    Odysseus ElytisGreece
    ”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”
  • 1978
    Isaac Bashevis SingerUSA (born in Poland)
    ”for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life”
  • 1977
    Vicente AleixandreSpain
    ”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”
  • 1976
    Saul BellowUSA
    ”for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work”
  • 1975
    Eugenio MontaleItaly
    ”for his distinctive poetry which, with great artistic sensitivity, has interpreted human values under the sign of an outlook on life with no illusions”
  • 1974
    Eyvind JohnsonSweden
    ”for a narrative art, far-seeing in lands and ages, in the service of freedom”
  • 1974
    Harry MartinsonSweden
    ”for writings that catch the dewdrop and reflect the cosmos”
  • 1973
    Patrick WhiteAustralia
    ”for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature”
  • 1972
    Heinrich BöllGermany
    ”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”
  • 1971
    Pablo NerudaChile
    ”for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent’s destiny and dreams”
  • 1970
    Alexander SolzjenitsynSoviet Union
    ”for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature”
  • 1969
    Samuel BeckettIreland
    ”for his writing, which – in new forms for the novel and drama – in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation”
  • 1968
    Yasunari KawabataJapan
    ”for his narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind”
  • 1967
    Miguel Angel AsturiasGuatemala
    ”for his vivid literary achievement, deep-rooted in the national traits and traditions of Indian peoples of Latin America”
  • 1966
    Samuel AgnonIsrael
    ”for his profoundly characteristic narrative art with motifs from the life of the Jewish people”
  • 1966
    Nelly SachsSweden (born in Germany)
    ”för hennes framstående lyriska och dramatiska diktning, som med gripande styrka tolkar Israels öde”
  • 1965
    Michail SjolochovSoviet Union
    ”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”
  • 1964
    Jean-Paul SartreFrance
    ”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”
  • 1963
    Giorgos SeferisGreece
    ”for his eminent lyrical writing, inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture”
  • 1962
    John SteinbeckUSA
    ”for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception”
  • 1961
    Ivo AndricYugoslavia
    ”for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country”
  • 1960
    Saint-John PerseFrance
    ”for the soaring flight and the evocative imagery of his poetry which in a visionary fashion reflects the conditions of our time”
  • 1959
    Salvatore QuasimodoItaly
    ”for his lyrical poetry, which with classical fire expresses the tragic experience of life in our own times”
  • 1958
    Boris PasternakSoviet Union
    ”for his important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition”
  • 1957
    Albert CamusFrance
    ”for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times”
  • 1956
    Juan Ramón JiménezSpain
    ”for his lyrical poetry, which in Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistical purity”
  • 1955
    Halldór Kiljan LaxnessIceland
    ”for his vivid epic power which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland”
  • 1954
    Ernest HemingwayUSA
    ”for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated inThe Old Man and the Sea,and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style”
  • 1953
    Winston ChurchillUnited Kingdom
    ”for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”
  • 1952
    François MauriacFrance
    ”for the deep spiritual insight and the artistic intensity with which he has in his novels penetrated the drama of human life”
  • 1951
    Pär LagerkvistSweden
    ”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”
  • 1950
    Bertrand RussellUnited Kingdom
    ”in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought”
  • 1949
    William FaulknerUSA
    ”for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel”
  • 1948
    Thomas Stearns EliotUnited Kingdom
    ”for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry”
  • 1947
    André GideFrance
    ”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”
  • 1946
    Hermann HesseSwitzerland (born in Germany)
    ”for his inspired writings which, while growing in boldness and penetration, exemplify the classical humanitarian ideals and high qualities of style”
  • 1945
    Gabriela MistralChile
    ”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”
  • 1944
    Johannes V. JensenDenmark
    ”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”
  • 1939
    Frans Eemil SillanpääFinland
    ”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”
  • 1938
    Pearl BuckUSA
    ”for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces”
  • 1937
    Roger Martin du GardFrance
    ”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-cycleLes Thibault”
  • 1936
    Eugene O’NeillUSA
    ”for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy”
  • 1934
    Luigi PirandelloItaly
    ”for his bold and ingenious revival of dramatic and scenic art”
  • 1933
    Ivan Bunin (statslös; född i Ryssland)Unknown
    ”for the strict artistry with which he has carried on the classical Russian traditions in prose writing”
  • 1932
    John GalsworthyUnited Kingdom
    ”for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form inThe Forsyte Saga”
  • 1931
    Erik Axel KarlfeldtSweden
    ”The poetry of Erik Axel Karlfeldt”
  • 1930
    Sinclair LewisUSA
    ”for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters”
  • 1929
    Thomas MannGermany
    ”principally for his great novel,Buddenbrooks, which has won steadily increased recognition as one of the classic works of contemporary literature”
  • 1928
    Sigrid UndsetNorway
    ”principally for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages”
  • 1927
    Henri BergsonFrance
    ”in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented”
  • 1926
    Grazia DeleddaItaly
    ”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”
  • 1925
    George Bernard ShawUnited Kingdom
    ”for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty”
  • 1924
    Wladyslaw ReymontPoland
    ”for his great national epic,The Peasants”
  • 1923
    William Butler YeatsIreland
    ”for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation”
  • 1922
    Jacinto BenaventeSpain
    ”for the happy manner in which he has continued the illustrious traditions of the Spanish drama”
  • 1921
    Anatole FranceFrance
    ”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”
  • 1920
    Knut HamsunNorway
    ”for his monumental work,Growth of the Soil”
  • 1919
    Carl SpittelerSwitzerland
    ”in special appreciation of his epic,Olympian Spring”
  • 1917
    Karl GjellerupDenmark
    ”for his varied and rich poetry, which is inspired by lofty ideals”
  • 1917
    Henrik PontoppidanDenmark
    ”for his authentic descriptions of present-day life in Denmark”
  • 1916
    Verner von HeidenstamSweden
    ”in recognition of his significance as the leading representative of a new era in our literature”
  • 1915
    Romain RollandFrance
    ”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”
  • 1913
    Rabindranath TagoreIndia
    ”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”
  • 1912
    Gerhart HauptmannGermany
    ”primarily in recognition of his fruitful, varied and outstanding production in the realm of dramatic art”
  • 1911
    Maurice MaeterlinckBelgium
    ”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”
  • 1910
    Paul HeyseGermany
    ”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”
  • 1909
    Selma LagerlöfSweden
    ”in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings”
  • 1908
    Rudolf EuckenGermany
    ”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”
  • 1907
    Rudyard KiplingUnited Kingdom
    ”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”
  • 1906
    Giosuè CarducciItaly
    ”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”
  • 1905
    Henryk SienkiewiczPoland
    ”because of his outstanding merits as an epic writer”
  • 1904
    Frédéric MistralFrance
    ”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”
  • 1904
    José EchegaraySpain
    ”in recognition of the numerous and brilliant compositions which, in an individual and original manner, have revived the great traditions of the Spanish drama”
  • 1903
    Bjørnstjerne BjørnsonNorway
    ”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”
  • 1902
    Theodor MommsenGermany
    ”the greatest living master of the art of historical writing, with special reference to his monumental work,A history of Rome”
  • 1901
    Sully PrudhommeFrance
    ”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”