AP PHOTOS: Notable Nobel Literature winners from the past
LONDON (AP) — The Swedish Academy certainly pulled off a surprise last year when it awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature to American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. It will take something dramatic to match that when this year’s winner is announced Thursday.
Since 1901, when French poet Sully Prudhomme became the inaugural winner of the literature award, 113 individuals have become Nobel laureates.
If history is any guide, then there’s a good chance that the successor to Dylan will be known all around the world.
The average age of the winning author is 65. Rudyard Kipling, the British author who is perhaps best known for “The Jungle Book,” is still the youngest recipient, winning it in 1907 when he was 41.
The 2007 winner, Doris Lessing, also British, is the oldest at 88. Lessing, whose work ranged from memoir to science fiction, is one of only 14 female laureates, the first being Sweden’s Selma Lagerlof in 1909, the most recent Belarus’ Svetlana Alexievich in 2015.
English has been the main language of the victor on more times than any other, at 28, double the French total, which comes in second.
Only two individuals have declined the award. Boris Pasternak, who was best-known for the epic “Doctor Zhivago,” refused the award in 1958 following pressure from authorities in the Soviet Union, while French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre rejected it in 1964 because of a long opposition to such honors.
Here are just a few of the memorable winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature.