The Nobel Prize in Literature

1966 Literature Laureate Nelly Sachs' amethyst stones inspired her writing by giving her feeling of safety and comfort.

© Nobel Media. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

About the prize

“The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: /- - -/ one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction ...” (Excerpt from the will of Alfred Nobel)

Alfred Nobel had broad cultural interests. During his early youth, he developed his literary interests which lasted throughout his life. His library consisted of a rich and broad selection of literature in different languages. During the last years of his life, he tried his hand as an author and began writing fiction. Literature was the fourth prize area Nobel mentioned in his will.

The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded by The Swedish Academy, Stockholm, Sweden.

See all 114 literature laureates or learn about the nomination process.

Explore prizes and laureates

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2019

The Nobel Prize in Literature will once again be awarded, and this autumn Laureates for both 2018 and 2019 will be announced. The Nobel Foundation's Board of Directors believes that the steps that the Swedish Academy has taken and intends to take will create good opportunities for restoring trust in the Academy as a prize-awarding institution.

Read more

Swedish Academy

The door at the Swedish Academy.

© Nobel Media. Photo: K. Svanholm.

Nobel Prize in Literature 2017

The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2017 is awarded to Kazuo Ishiguro “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.”

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Photo: Courtesy of Faber & Faber

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Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing at her home in London, 14 April 2008.

© Nobel Media.

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Toni Morrison speaking

Toni Morrison speaking at 'A Tribute to Chinua Achebe - 50 Years Anniversary of ‘Things Fall Apart.'

Photo: Angela Radulescu

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