Posted in Awards and Prizes


By Yusuf Lekan

Following the announcement of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature to Patrick Modiano, presented by Professor Peter Englund, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, on 9 October 2014. I was overwhelmed by the conclusion of the Swedish Academy though I wasn’t shock to death while reading the headline in one of Nigeria dailies.

Nobel Prize 2014
Nobel Prize 2014

Without feigning knowledge about the new Laureate of literature, I hardly had read his works let alone know who he was, don’t get me wrong, I do not claim I know every name in our contemporary literature but I’m quite familiar with big names of the world literature so I owned license to my thought that,the French writer Patrick Modiano was probably the favorite of the Swedish Academy to be awarded the Nobel Prize among other nominee like Ngugi waThiong’o, a sound and talented Keyan writer who not only had written works in English but also in Gukuyi, Ngugi waThiong’o, who was long listed in 2013 for the same award alongside with other three African writers including Ben Okri and Chimanda NgoziAdiche, although he always criticize the white society. Another big name on the list is J.K Rolling, a weird fiction writer that has shaken the world with herdebut book “The Lord of the Ring” and had most of her works adapted into big screen, when the news of Patrick Modiano as the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature 2014 reached me I felt lurch in my stomach that whether the last will testament of Alfred Nobel that “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction” have been compromised but I still hold breath to my conclusion, but after several research and reading peoples viewpoints I had no power than to surrender to the conclusion of the Nobel Prize diplomats.


Until now 107 Nobel Prize in literature have been awarded to 111 individuals since 1901 and only on four occasion have been share between two individuals, i.e in 1904 – between Frederic Mistrak and Jose Echegaray, 1917 – between Karl Gjellerup and Henrik Pontoppidan,1966 – between Shmuel Agnon and Nelly sachs, and 1974 –between Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson. And about 13 women have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940) was the first woman to be awarded in 1909, only two people have declined the Nobel Prize in literature and No one has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature more than once.


Five African have been awarded the Nobel Prize in literature since inception. Wole Soyinka (1986), Naguib Mahfouz (1988), Nadine Gordimer (1991), J.M. Coetzee (2003) and Doris Lessing (2007).Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka”who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence” was the first and only African that have been awarded the Nobel prize in literature while many others have been nominated for the award including our very own Chinua Achebe and the last person to make the shortlist candidate is Kenyan writer NgugiwaThiong’o


While the Nobel Prize in Literature is for a writer’s life work, there are nine Literature Laureates for whom the Swedish Academy singled out a specific work for particular recognition.

  1. Mikhail Sholokhov in 1965 “for the artistic power and integrity with which, in his epic of the Don, he has given expression to a historic phase in the life of the Russian people”
  2. Ernest Hemingway in 1954 “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”
  3. Roger Martin Du Gard in 1937 “for the artistic power and truth with which he has depicted human conflict as well as some fundamental aspects of contemporary life in his novel-cycle Les Thibault”
  4. John Galsworthy in 1932 “for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in The Forsyte Saga”
  5. Thomas Mann in 1929 “principally for his great novel, Buddenbrooks, which has won steadily increased recognition as one of the classic works of contemporary literature”
  6. Wladyslaw Reymont in 1924 “for his great national epic, The Peasants”
  7. Knut Hamsun in 1920 “for his monumental work, Growth of the Soil”
  8. Carl Spitteler in 1919 “in special appreciation of his epic, Olympian Spring”
  9. Theodor Mommsen in 1902 “the greatest living master of the art of historical writing, with special reference to his monumental work, A history of Rome”

The word “Laureate” refers to being signified by the laurel wreath. In Greek mythology, the god Apollo is represented wearing a laurel wreath on his head. A laurel wreath is a circular crown made of branches and leaves of the bay laurel (In latin: Laurusnobilis). In Ancient Greece, laurel wreaths were awarded to victors as a sign of honour – both in athletic competitions and in poetic meets

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Welcome to my world, I'm Yusuf Lekan Olanrwaju, the curator of TheBookFetch, i'm a literary enthusiast, a Poet, a book promoter. I am currently finishing up Physics major degree at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, and i graduated summa cum launde in Physics/Electronics from the prestigious Kwara State Polytechnic Ilorin, formerly Kwara College of Technology Ilorin. If you ever asked yourself: “How can I become an avid reader?” “How can I learn and use blogging to achieve my writing dreams?” “How can I become a published author?” “How can I book reading engagement with my audience?” “How can I have an inspiring book shelf “How can I discover my true self and boost my confidence?” … you’re in the RIGHT place! Here is where I train people on how to find solace by reading books, help writers reach their audience, share my story of failure and frustration, help you with writing contests and tips to win them. Would you like connect with me? then follow me on twitter, google+, LinkedIn or facebook.


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