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Nobel Prize for Literature

Almost five years after scientist and inventor Alfred Nobel (1833 - 1896) died, the Nobel Prize was created according to specifications in his will and supported by the remains of the majority of his estate. The Nobel Prize is awarded to unique individuals (regardless of nationality) in several areas: physics, chemistry, medicine, economics, peace and literature.
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The Nobel Prize for literature does not focus on one piece of creativity (although one item may weigh more heavily than others) but looks at the body of work in any venue as long as it contains what is deemed by the Swedish Academy and delegates as "literary value".

This prize takes into account writers from all walks of life world wide who may or may not be known by the general public. The majority of winners have been from the United Kingdom (10) and the United States (7). Other winners have haled from Australia (1), Austria (1), Belgium (1), Canada (1), Chile (2), Colombia (1), Czechoslovakia (1), Denmark (3), Egypt (1), Finland (1), France (12), Germany (8), Greece (2), Guatemala (1), Hungary (1), Iceland (1), India (1), Ireland (4), Israel (1), Italy (6), Japan (2), Mexico (1), Nigeria (1), Norway (3), China (1), Poland (5), Portugal (1), Russia (1), Saint Lucia (1), South Africa (2), Soviet Union (4), Spain (5), Sweden (6), Switzerland (1), Turkey (1), West Germany (1), Yugoslavia (1).

While nominees are never announced, the finalists for the Nobel Prize in each category are announced the first week of October. Along with the prestige of the award, is a financial gift of 10 million Swedish Kroner (just over 1 million US), a gold medal (a different medal is created for each award), and a diploma of recognition.

This annual literary award has been awarded to some recognizable talents over the years like: William Golding, 1983 (Lord of the Flies); Thomas Mann, 1929 (Buddenbrooks); Doris Lessing, 2007(The Golden Notebook); Samuel Beckett, 1969 (Molloy); Ernest Hemmingway, 1954 (The Old Man and the Sea); and John Steinbeck, 1962 (The Grapes of Wrath). A complete reading list can be found in the Nobel Prize Reading List in the related links below.

The official website for the Nobel Prize has extensive viewer friendly information on Alfred Nobel, all the Nobel Prizes and all the winners including video portraits; I especially enjoyed the one with Doris Lessing. Visitors can also take a visual tour of the beautiful Swedish Academy in Stortorget, Stockholm where the Academy announces the Laureates.

Learn more about the Nobel Prize from the official website.



M. E. Wood lives in Eastern Ontario, Canada. If you are going to find this eclectic reader and writer anywhere it is probably at her computer. For more information visit her official website.

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