Each year, passionate readers throughout the world wait for that October day when the greatest award in the world of books is announced: the Nobel Prize in Literature. Since 1901, the Swedish Academy has awarded the prize to an author from any country who has produced “the most outstanding work in an idealistic direction.” These subjective words have led to choices that have been alternately celebrated and criticized for more than a century.
This presentation will share with audiences the fascinating history and controversial decisions by the Nobel Prize committee, as we discover why some unexpected writers won (Bob Dylan!) and other legendary authors did not (Leo Tolstoy, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, and many others). We’ll also consider those cases where the Nobel Prize committee seemed to “get it right,” and why these choices have been celebrated. Finally, we’ll discuss why the Nobel Prize is such an important institution worldwide and how it continues to impact the lives of readers.