1940 Nobel Prize in Literature
"in the field of literature, produced the most outstanding work in an idealistic direction".
LocationStockholm, Sweden
Presented bySwedish Academy
First awarded1901
1940 laureatenone
WebsiteOfficial website
← 1939 · Nobel Prize in Literature · 1941 →

The 1940 Nobel Prize in Literature was not awarded when the Nobel committee's deliberations were upset by the start of World War II on September 1, 1939.[1] Instead, the prize money was allocated with 1/3 to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.[2] This was the fourth occasion in Nobel history that the prize was not conferred.


Despite no author(s) being awarded for the 1940 prize due to the ongoing second world war, numerous literary critics, societies and academics continued sending nominations to the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy, hoping that their nominated candidate may be considered for the prize. In total, the academy received 26 nominations for 19 writers.[3]

Seven of the nominees were nominated first-time such as Carl Sandburg, Gabriela Mistral (awarded in 1945), Lin Yutang, Bert Bailey, and Edmund Blunden. The highest number of the nominations – three nominations – was for the French writer Henriette Charasson. Three of the nominees were women, namely Gabriela Mistral, Henriette Charasson, and Maria Madalena de Martel Patrício.[3]

The authors Isaak Babel, Walter Benjamin, E. F. Benson, Marie Bregendahl, John Buchan, Mikhail Bulgakov, Mikhail Bulgakov, Tomás Carrasquilla, Charley Chase, Lucio D'Ambra, William Henry Davies, Mary Bathurst Deane, Charles Edgar du Perron, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hamlin Garland, Emma Goldman, Anton Hansen (known as A. H. Tammsaare), Thomas Little Heath, Nicolae Iorga, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, Panuganti Lakshminarasimha Rao, Jan Lorentowicz, Edwin Markham, Hendrik Marsman, Ricardo Miró, Eileen Power, Ameen Rihani, T. O'Conor Sloane, Santōka Taneda, Menno ter Braak, Leon Trotsky, Nathanael West, and Humbert Wolfe died in 1940 without having been nominated for the prize.

Official list of nominees and their nominators for the prize
No. Nominee Country Genre(s) Nominator(s)
1 Albert Edward Bailey (1868–1953)  Australia drama, screenplay Georges Rency (1875–1951)
2 Edmund Blunden (1896–1974)  United Kingdom poetry, essays, biography Heinrich Wolfgang Donner (1904-1980)
3 Gösta Carlberg (1909–1973)  Sweden novel, poetry, short story, essays Einar Tegen (1884–1965)
4 Henriette Charasson (1884–1972)  France poetry, essays, drama, novel, literary criticism, biography
  • Pierre Moreau (1895–1972)
  • Serge Barrault (1887–1976)
  • Jacques Chevalier (1882–1962)
5 António Correia de Oliveira (1878–1960)  Portugal poetry António Mendes Correia (1888–1960)
6 Maria Madalena de Martel Patrício (1884–1947)  Portugal poetry, essays António Baião (1878–1961)
7 Georges Duhamel (1884–1966)  France novel, short story, poetry, drama, literary criticism Anders Österling (1884–1981)
8 Johan Falkberget (1879–1967)  Norway novel, short story, essays
9 Vilhelm Grønbech (1873–1948)  Denmark history, essays, poetry Sven Lönborg (1871–1959)
10 Johan Huizinga (1872–1945)  Netherlands history
11 Johannes Vilhelm Jensen (1873–1950)  Denmark novel, short story, essays
12 Lin Yutang (1895–1976)  China novel, philosophy, essays, translation
13 Gabriela Mistral (1889–1957)  Chile poetry
  • Yolando Pino Saavedra (1901–1992)
  • Luís Galdames Galdames (1881–1941)
14 Kostis Palamas (1859–1943)  Greece poetry, essays Iōannēs Kalitsounakēs (1878–1966)
15 Carl Sandburg (1878–1967)  United States poetry, essays, biography Sinclair Lewis (1885–1951)
16 Alfonso Strafile (1872–?)  Italy
 United States
essays Domenico Vittorini (1892–1958)
17 Stijn Streuvels (1871–1969)  Belgium novel, short story Fredrik Böök (1883–1961)
18 Felix Timmermans (1886–1947)  Belgium novel, short story, drama, poetry, essays Paul Sobry (1895–1954)
19 Paul Valéry (1871–1945)  France poetry, philosophy, essays, drama Rolf Lagerborg (1874–1959)


  1. ^ "Nobel literature row: usually it takes a world war to disrupt the prize". The Conversation. 4 May 2018. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  2. ^ The Nobel Prize in Literature 1940 nobelprize.org
  3. ^ a b Nomination archive – 1940 nobelprize.org