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When Winston Churchill won the Nobel Prize in Literature

Last updated on: October 8, 2010 13:32 IST

Mario Vargas Llosa wins Nobel Prize for Literature

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Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa has won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2010

Alfred Nobel, the man responsible for the prestigious awards that recognise excellence in various categories, had a specific vision in mind for the winners in the field of literature.

"The person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction," is how Nobel described the awardee.

Let's take a look at some lesser known facts related to the distinguished authors who have won the Nobel Prize in literature

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Image: Mario Vargas Llosa

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No Nobel Prize for 7 years

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Till date, 102 Nobel Prizes have been awarded in literature. But no awards were given for seven years: 1914, 1918, 1935, 1940, 1941, 1942, and 1943.

Why? Because the Nobel Foundation clearly states, 'If none of the works under consideration is found to be of the importance indicated in the first paragraph, the prize money shall be reserved until the following year. If, even then, the prize cannot be awarded, the amount shall be added to the Foundation's restricted funds.'

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Image: Rabindranath Tagore, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913
Photographs: Courtesy: http://nobelprize.org
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The youngest recipient

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Rudyard Kipling, author of the The Jungle Book, was the youngest recipient of the award. He was only 42 years old when he received the award in 1907.

The Nobel Prize was awarded to Kipling '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'.

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Image: Rudyard Kipling
Photographs: Courtesy: http://nobelprize.org
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The oldest recipient

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Doris Lessing, who won the Nobel in 2007, was the oldest author to do so. The British author was 88 years old when she won the Nobel Prize.

She was described by the Swedish Academy as 'that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny'.

Only 12 female authors have won the Nobel Prize in literature so far. They include illustrious names like Toni Morrison, Pearl Buck, Nadine Gordimer and, of course, Lessing.

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Image: Doris Lessing
Photographs: Courtesy: http://nobelprize.org
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Sartre declined the Nobel Prize

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Only two people have declined the Nobel Prize in literature so far.

Boris Pasternak, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1958, accepted the award first. But the authorities in Soviet Union made the Russian author give up the Nobel Prize

Jean Paul Sartre, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1964, declined the prize because he had 'consistently declined all official honours.'

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Image: Jean Paul Sartre
Photographs: Courtesy: http://nobelprize.org
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When Churchill won the Nobel Prize in literature

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The maximum number of awards -- 26 -- have been won by authors writing in English. French and German authors, with 13 awards each, have been awarded the second highest number of Nobel Prizes.

Incidentally, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1953 in two categories -- peace and literature. He finally won the Nobel Prize for literature for 'his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values'.

 


 


Image: Winston Churchill
Photographs: Courtesy: http://nobelprize.org
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