USA Literary Nobel Laureates


1930 – Sinclair Lewis (1885 – 1951) American writer. Received the 1930 Nobel Prize for Literature “for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humor, new types of characters.”

1936 – Eugene Gladstone O’Neill (1888 – 1953) American writer. Eugene O’Neill won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936, and Pulitzer Prizes for four of his plays: Beyond the Horizon (1920); Anna Christie (1922); Strange Interlude (1928); and Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1957). He won the Nobel Prize in Literature “for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy.”

1938 – Pearl Buck (1892 – 1973) American writer. Buck was born in Hillsboro, West Virginia. She grew up in China, where her parents were missionaries in Huai’an and Zhenjiang, but she later was educated at Cornell University and Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. Buck was awarded the 1938 Nobel Prize “for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces”.


1948 – Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888 – 1965) British/American writer. T.S. Eliot received the 1948 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry.”

1949 – William Faulkner (1897 – 1962) American writer. Received the 1949 Nobel in Literature “for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel.”

1954 – Ernest Miller Hemingway (1899 – 1961) American writer. Brevity was his specialty. Received the 1954 Nobel in Literature “for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style.”

1962 – John Steinbeck (1902 – 1968) American writer. Received the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humor and keen social perception.”images

1976 – Saul Bellow (1915 – 2005) American writer. Received the 1976 Nobel Prize for Literature “for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work.”


1978 – Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904 – 1991) Polish/American writer. Received the 1978 Nobel Prize for Literature “for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life.”

1980 – Czeslaw Milosz (1911 – 2004) Polish/American writer. Received the 1980 Nobel Prize for Literature for voicing “man’s exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts.”


1987 – Joseph Brodsky (1940 – 1996) Russian/American writer. Received the 1987 Nobel Prize for Literature “for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity.”


1992 – Derek Walcott (1930 – 2017) Saint Lucian/American writer. Derek Walcott received the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature “for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment.”download-1

1993 – Toni Morrison (1931 – 2019) American writer. Received the 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature for “novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import,” giving “life to an essential aspect of American reality.”


2016 – Bob Dylan (1941 – ) American musician and songwriter. The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 was awarded to Bob Dylan “who can be read and should be read, and is a great poet in the English tradition for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

2020 Nobel – Louise Elisabeth Glück (1943 – ), an American poet and essayist “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”