1961 Nobel Prize in Literature
Ivo Andrić
"for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country."
  • 26 October 1961 (announcement)
  • 10 December 1961
LocationStockholm, Sweden
Presented bySwedish Academy
Hosted byAnders Österling
First awarded1901
WebsiteOfficial website
← 1960 · Nobel Prize in Literature · 1962 →

The 1961 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the Yugoslav/Serbian [1] writer Ivo Andrić (1892–1975) "for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country."[2][3] He is the first and only Serbian-speaking recipient of the literature prize.[3]


Main article: Ivo Andrić

Ivo Andrić began by writing poetry, and philosophers like Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Kafka and Goethe had an impact on his philosophical views. But his preferred literary form would be the historical epic. The fates of people are illuminated against a historical, cultural, and religious backdrop in Andrić's writings, such as his monumental novel Na Drini ćuprija ("The Bridge on the Drina", 1945). His stories show both immense love for individuals and brutality and violence. His writing is clear and full of information, and his stories are filled with insightful psychological observations. His other well-known literary oeuvres include Travnička hronika ("Travnika Chronicle", 1945) and Prokleta avlija ("The Damned Yard", 1954).[4][5]



Andrić earned ten nominations on four occasions. He was first nominated in 1958 by The Yugoslavian Author's Society. On 1961, he was recommended by four nominators from Elizabeth Hill, Lennart Breitholtz, Johannes Edfelt and the aforementioned society which led to his awarding.[6]

In total, the Swedish Academy's Nobel Committee received 93 nominations for 56 authors such as Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, John Steinbeck (awarded in 1962), André Malraux, Graham Greene, Georges Simenon, Ramón Menéndez Pidal, Robert Frost and Rómulo Gallegos. Fifteen of the nominees were nominated for the first time, among them Yasunari Kawabata (awarded in 1968), Gaston Bachelard, Cora Sandel, Jean Anouilh, Simone de Beauvoir, J. R. R. Tolkien, Lawrence Durrell, W. H. Auden and Friedrich Dürrenmatt. There were five female nominees namely Giulia Scappino Murena, Gertrud von le Fort, Karen Blixen, Cora Sandel and Simone de Beauvoir.[7]

The authors Jacques Stephen Alexis, Lucian Blaga, Joanna Cannan, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Mazo de la Roche, Louis de Wohl, Hilda Doolittle, Frantz Fanon, Olga Forsh, Leonhard Frank, Simon Gantillon, Dashiell Hammett, Émile Henriot, George S. Kaufman, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Oliver Onions, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Mihail Sadoveanu, Peyami Safa, Frédéric-Louis Sauser (known as Blaise Cendrars), Clark Ashton Smith, Antanas Škėma, Dorothy Thompson and Maria Valtorta died in 1961 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 Ivo Andrić (1892–1975)  Yugoslavia
novel, short story, poetry
2 Jean Anouilh (1910–1987)  France drama, screenplay, translation
3 Wystan Hugh Auden (1907–1973)  United Kingdom
 United States
poetry, essays, screenplay Ernest Ludwig Stahl (1902–1992)
4 Gaston Bachelard (1884–1962)  France philosophy Georges May (1920–2003)
5 Karen Blixen (1885–1962)  Denmark novel, short story, memoir
6 Maurice Bowra (1898–1971)  United Kingdom history, essays, literary criticism, poetry M. A. Oxon (?)
7 Heinrich Böll (1917–1985)  Germany novel, short story
  • Walter Höllerer (1922–2003)
  • Fritz Martini (1909–1991)
  • Hermann Weigand (1892–1985)
  • Gustav Korlén (1915–2014)
8 Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986)  France novel, drama, memoir, philosophy, essays, short story Henri Peyre (1901–1988)
9 Michel de Ghelderode (1898–1962)  Belgium drama, short story, essays Eric Bentley (1916–2020)
10 Georges Duhamel (1884–1966)  France novel, short story, poetry, drama, literary criticism Frederick Charles Green (1891–1964)
11 Lawrence Durrell (1912–1990)  United Kingdom novel, short story, poetry, drama, essays Hjalmar Gullberg (1898–1961)
12 Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921–1990)   Switzerland drama, novel, short story, essays
  • Joachim Müller (1906–1986)
  • Friedrich Sengle (1909–1994)
13 Johan Falkberget (1879–1967)  Norway novel, short story, essays Johannes Andreasson Dale (1898–1975)
14 Edward Morgan Forster (1879–1970)  United Kingdom novel, short story, drama, essays, biography, literary criticism
15 Robert Frost (1874–1963)  United States poetry, drama
16 Rómulo Gallegos (1884–1969)  Venezuela novel, short story
17 Armand Godoy (1880–1964)  Cuba
poetry, translation Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876–1973)
18 Julien Gracq (1910–2007)  France novel, poetry, drama, literary criticism Eyvind Johnson (1900–1976)
19 Robert Graves (1895–1985)  United Kingdom history, novel, poetry, literary criticism, essays Henry Olsson (1896–1985)
20 Graham Greene (1904–1991)  United Kingdom novel, short story, autobiography, essays
21 Gunnar Gunnarsson (1889–1975)  Iceland novel, short story, poetry Stellan Arvidson (1902–1997)
22 Leslie Poles Hartley (1895–1972)  United Kingdom novel, short story
23 Adriaan Roland Holst (1888–1976)  Netherlands poetry
24 Taha Hussein (1889–1973)  Egypt novel, short story, poetry, translation
25 Aldous Huxley (1894–1963)  United Kingdom novel, short story, essays, poetry, screenplay, drama, philosophy Jacques Barzun (1907–2012)
26 Pierre Jean Jouve (1887–1976)  France poetry, novel, literary criticism Francis James Carmody (1907–1982)
27 Ernst Jünger (1895–1998)  Germany philosophy, novel, memoir August Closs (1898–1990)
28 Yasunari Kawabata (1899–1972)  Japan novel, short story Henry Olsson (1896–1985)
29 Miroslav Krleža (1893–1981)  Yugoslavia
poetry, drama, short story, novel, essays Association of Writers of Yugoslavia
30 André Malraux (1901–1976)  France novel, essays, literary criticism Claude Digeon (1920–2008)
31 William Somerset Maugham (1874–1965)  United Kingdom novel, short story, drama, essays Karel van het Reve (1921–1999)
32 Ramón Menéndez Pidal (1869–1968)  Spain philology, history
  • Walter Pabst (1907–1992)
  • Jaap van Praag (1911–1981)
  • Gunnar Tilander (1894–1973)
33 Eugenio Montale (1896–1981)  Italy poetry, translation Michele De Filippis (1891–1975)
34 Alberto Moravia (1907–1990)  Italy novel, literary criticism, essays, drama Anders Wedberg (1913–1978)
35 Pablo Neruda (1904–1973)  Chile poetry Francis James Carmody (1907–1982)
36 Junzaburō Nishiwaki (1894–1982)  Japan poetry, literary criticism The Japanese Authors' Union
37 Seán O'Casey (1880–1964)  Ireland drama, memoir
38 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888–1975)  India philosophy, essays, law Nirmal Kumar Sidhanta (1929–2014)
39 Cora Sandel (1880–1974)  Norway novel, short story Harald Ofstad (1920–1994)
40 Aksel Sandemose (1899–1965)  Denmark
novel, essays Eyvind Johnson (1900–1976)
41 Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980)  France philosophy, novel, drama, essays, screenplay
42 Giulia Scappino Murena (1902–1967)  Italy poetry Alfredo Galletti (1872–1962)
43 Giorgos Seferis (1900–1971)  Greece poetry, memoir, essays Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888–1965)
44 Mikhail Sholokhov (1905–1984)  Russia novel Harry Martinson (1904–1978)
45 Ignazio Silone (1900–1978)  Italy novel, short story, essays, drama Elias Wessén (1889–1981)
46 Georges Simenon (1903–1989)  Belgium novel, short story, memoir
47 Charles Percy Snow (1905–1980)  United Kingdom novel, essays
  • Friedrich Schubel (1904–1991)
  • Robert Ralston Crawley (1893–1973)
  • Norman Jeffares (1920–2005)
48 John Steinbeck (1902–1968)  United States novel, short story, screenplay
49 Jun'ichirō Tanizaki (1886–1965)  Japan novel, short story The Japanese Authors' Union
50 John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892–1973)  United Kingdom novel, short story, poetry, philology, essays, literary criticism Clive Staples Lewis (1898–1963)
51 Miguel Torga (1907–1995)  Portugal poetry, short story, novel, drama, autobiography Hernâni Antonio Cidade (1887–1975)
52 Tarjei Vesaas (1897–1970)  Norway poetry, novel
  • Sigmund Skard (1903–1995)
  • Johannes Andreasson Dale (1898–1975)
53 Simon Vestdijk (1898–1971)  Netherlands novel, poetry, essays, translation Jan Kamerbeek Jr. (1905–1977)
54 Gertrud von Le Fort (1876–1971)  Germany novel, short story, essays, poetry Friedrich von der Leyen (1873–1966)
55 Arthur David Waley (1889–1966)  United Kingdom translation, essays Edwin G. Pulleyblank (1922–2013)
56 Edmund Wilson (1895–1972)  United States essays, literary criticism, short story, drama Serge Konovalov (1899–1982)


  1. ^ a b https://www.glassrpske.com/cir/drustvo/vijesti/andriceva-licna-karta-narodnost-srpska/125242
  2. ^ The Nobel Prize in Literature 1961 nobelprize.org
  3. ^ a b Werner Wiskari (27 October 1961). "Yugoslav Authors Wins Nobel Prize; Dr. Ivo Andric Honored for 'Epic Force' of His Work". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 April 2023.
  4. ^ Ivo Andric – Facts nobelprize.org
  5. ^ "Ivo Andrić | Serbo-Croatian author". britannica.com.
  6. ^ Nomination archive – Ivo Andric nobelprize.org
  7. ^ Nomination archive – Literature 1961 nobelprize.org