1965 Nobel Prize in Literature
Mikhail Sholokhov
"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."
  • 15 October 1965 (announcement)
  • 10 December 1965
LocationStockholm, Sweden
Presented bySwedish Academy
First awarded1901
WebsiteOfficial website
← 1964 · Nobel Prize in Literature · 1966 →

The 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded the Russian novelist Mikhail Sholokhov (1905–1984) "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."[1] He is the third Russian-speaking author to become the prize's recipient.


Main article: Mikhail Sholokhov

Mikhail Sholokhov was born in Vyoshenskaya, Russia. He fought in the Russian Civil War as a Bolshevik at the age of 13. To pursue a career as a journalist, he relocated to Moscow in 1922. He returned to his birthplace two years later and concentrated solely on his literary career. He drew inspiration for his debut book, Donskie Rasskazy ("Tales from the Don", 1925), from his experiences in both the Russian Civil War and World War I.[2]

His magnum opus Tikhii Don ("The Quiet Don", 1928–1966) was published in four volumes (translated as And Quiet Flows the Don (1934); The Don Flows Home to the Sea (1940); Quiet Flows the Don (1966)) to him 14 years to complete. It was praised as a potent illustration of socialist realism and became the most widely-read book in Soviet literature. Sholokhov had a keen interest in how people's lives played out against Russia's changes and problems. It took him 27 years to complete his other significant piece for the Don cycle, Podnyataya Tselina ("Virgin Soil Upturned", 1932–1960).[2][3]



Sholokhov started receiving nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature since 1947. He received 20 nominations in total until he was eventually awarded.[4][5] He received the highest number of nominations in the year 1965.[5]

For this year, the Nobel Committee received 120 nominations[6] for 93 authors including Simon Vestdijk, Ramón Menéndez Pidal, Nelly Sachs (awarded in 1966), André Malraux, Ezra Pound, Pablo Neruda (awarded in 1971), E. M. Forster, Max Frisch, and Taha Hussein. 21 of the nominees were newly nominated, such as Alejo Carpentier, Konstantin Paustovsky, Mohammad-Ali Jamalzadeh, Anna Akhmatova, Marguerite Yourcenar, Gyula Illyés, Marie Luise Kaschnitz, Gilbert Cesbron, Giovannino Guareschi, and Alan Sillitoe. The highest number of nominations was for the French author André Malraux (with six nominations). Eight of the nominees were women, namely: Marguerite Yourcenar, Judith Wright, Anna Akhmatova, Katherine Anne Porter, Marie Luise Kaschnitz, Nelly Sachs, Maria Dąbrowska, and María Raquel Adler.[6]

The authors Jacques Audiberti, Alejandro Casona, Thomas B. Costain, Rampo Edogawa, Eleanor Farjeon, Lorraine Hansberry, Louis Hjelmslev, Mehdi Huseyn, Shirley Jackson, Randall Jarrell, Una Marson, Betty Miller, Edgar Mittelholzer, Fan S. Noli, Dawn Powell, Arthur Schlesinger, Sr., Jack Spicer, Howard Spring, Thomas Sigismund Stribling, Paul Tillich, and Aslaug Vaa died in 1965 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 Anna Akhmatova (1889–1966)  Russia poetry
2 María Raquel Adler (1901–1974)  Argentina poetry, essays Catholic University of Cuyo
3 Theodor Adorno (1903–1969)  Germany philosophy, essays Helmut Viebrock (1912–1997)
4 Shmuel Yosef Agnon (1887–1970)  Israel novel, short story Baruch Kurzweil (1907–1972)
5 Alceu Amoroso Lima (1893–1983)  Brazil philosophy, essays, literary criticism Academia Mineira de Letras
6 Louis Aragon (1897–1982)  France novel, short story, poetry, essays
  • André-Marc Vial (1917–1987)
  • Robert Ricatte (1913–1995)
  • Henri Weber (1914–2015)
7 Tudor Arghezi (1880–1967)  Romania novel, short story, poetry, essays Angelo Monteverdi (1886–1967)
8 Miguel Ángel Asturias (1899–1974)  Guatemala novel, short story, poetry, essays, drama Erik Lindegren (1910–1968)
9 Wystan Hugh Auden (1907–1973)  United Kingdom
 United States
poetry, essays, screenplay
10 Samuel Beckett (1906–1989)  Ireland novel, drama, poetry William Stuart Maguinness (1903–1983)
11 René Béhaine (1880–1966)  France novel, short story, essays Yves Gandon (1899–1975)
12 Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986)  Argentina poetry, essays, translation, short story
13 Henri Bosco (1888–1976)  France novel, short story Barthélémy-Antonin Taladoire (1907–1976)
14 Maurice Bowra (1898–1971)  United Kingdom history, essays, literary criticism, poetry Ernest Ludwig Stahl (1902–1992)
15 Martin Buber (1878–1965)  Austria
16 Heinrich Böll (1917–1985)  Germany novel, short story Gustav Korlén (1915–2014)
17 Josep Carner (1884–1970)  Spain poetry, drama, translation Robert Guiette (1895–1976)
18 Alejo Carpentier (1904–1980)  Cuba novel, short story, essays Jean-Louis Flecniakoska (1913–2005)
19 Gilbert Cesbron (1913–1979)  France novel, short story, essays, drama, poetry Pierre Jonin (1912–1997)
20 André Chamson (1900–1983)  France novel, essays Charles Rostaing (1904–1999)
21 René Char (1907–1988)  France poetry Georges Blin (1917–2016)
22 Maria Dąbrowska (1889–1965)  Poland novel, short story, essays, drama, literary criticism Carl Stief (1914–1998)
23 Lawrence Durrell (1912–1990)  United Kingdom novel, short story, poetry, drama, essays Paul Gerhard Buchloh (1922–1986)
24 Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921–1990)   Switzerland drama, novel, short story, essays Friedrich Sengle (1909–1994)
25 Johan Falkberget (1879–1967)  Norway novel, short story, essays Hans Heiberg (1904–1978)
26 Edward Morgan Forster (1879–1970)  United Kingdom novel, short story, drama, essays, biography, literary criticism Pierre Legouis (1891–1975)
27 Max Frisch (1911–1991)   Switzerland novel, drama
28 Sudhindra Nath Ghose (1899–1965)  India novel, short story, essays Henri de Ziégler (1885–1970)
29 Gopal Singh (1917–1990)  India biography, law, essays, translation
30 Giovannino Guareschi (1908–1968)  Italy novel, short story, essays Mario Manlio Rossi (1895–1971)
31 Jean Guéhenno (1890–1978)  France essays, literary criticism Edmond Jarno (1905–1985)
32 Jorge Guillén (1893–1984)  Spain poetry, literary criticism Henri Peyre (1901–1988)
33 Jean Guitton (1901–1999)  France philosophy, theology Édouard Delebecque (1910–1990)
34 Gunnar Gunnarsson (1889–1975)  Iceland novel, short story, poetry Stellan Arvidson (1902–1997)
35 Leslie Poles Hartley (1895–1972)  United Kingdom novel, short story, essays Geoffrey Tillotson (1905–1969)
36 Pêr-Jakez Helias (1914–1995)  France poetry, drama, essays André Lebois (1915–1978)
37 Taha Hussein (1889–1973)  Egypt novel, short story, poetry, translation Charles Pellat (1914–1992)
38 Gyula Illyés (1902–1983)  Hungary poetry, novel, drama, essays János Lotz (1913–1973)
39 Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz (1894–1980)  Poland poetry, essays, drama, translation, short story, novel Jean Fabre (1904–1975)
40 Mohammad-Ali Jamalzadeh (1892–1997)  Iran short story, translation Richard Nelson Frye (1920–2014)
41 Eyvind Johnson (1900–1976)  Sweden novel, short story Carl-Eric Thors (1920–1986)
42 Marcel Jouhandeau (1888–1979)  France short story, novel Jean Gaulmier (1905–1997)
43 Ernst Jünger (1895–1998)  Germany philosophy, novel, memoir
  • Rudolf Till (1911–1979)
  • Léon Cellier (1911–1976)
44 Marie Luise Kaschnitz (1901–1974)  Germany novel, short story, essays, drama Hermann Tiemann (1899–1981)
45 Yasunari Kawabata (1899–1972)  Japan novel, short story Harry Martinson (1904–1978)
46 Miroslav Krleža (1893–1981)  Yugoslavia
poetry, drama, short story, novel, essays Association of Writers of Yugoslavia
47 Erich Kästner (1899–1974)  Germany poetry, screenplay, autobiography Werner Betz (1912–1980)
48 André Malraux (1901–1976)  France novel, essays, literary criticism
  • Georges Vallet (1922–994)
  • Victor Brombert (b. 1923)
  • Yves Le Hir (1919–2005)
  • John Martin Cocking (1914–1986)
  • Henri Peyre (1901–1988)
  • Robert Niklaus (1910–2001)
49 Gabriel Marcel (1889–1973)  France philosophy, drama Olof Gigon (1912–1998)
50 William Somerset Maugham (1874–1965)  United Kingdom novel, short story, drama, essays Jean-Albert Bédé (1903–1977)
51 Ramón Menéndez Pidal (1869–1968)  Spain philology, history
  • Gunnar Tilander (1894–1973)
  • Rudolf Großmann (1882–1941)
  • H. Baader (?)
  • Hans Flasche (1911–1994)
  • Olaf Deutschmann (1912–1989)
52 Yukio Mishima (1925–1970)  Japan novel, short story, drama, literary criticism Harry Martinson (1904–1978)
53 Vilhelm Moberg (1898–1973)  Sweden novel, drama, history Gösta Bergman (1894–1984)
54 Henry de Montherlant (1895–1972)  France essays, novel, drama Louis Moulinier (1904–1971)
56 Alberto Moravia (1907–1990)  Italy novel, literary criticism, essays, drama Uberto Limentani (1913–1989)
57 Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977)  Russia
 United States
novel, short story, poetry, drama, translation, literary criticism, memoir
58 Pablo Neruda (1904–1973)  Chile poetry
59 Junzaburō Nishiwaki (1894–1982)  Japan poetry, literary criticism Naoshirō Tsuji (1899–1979)
60 Konstantin Paustovsky (1892–1968)  Russia novel, poetry, drama Karl Ragnar Gierow (1904–1982)
61 Katherine Anne Porter (1890–1980)  United States short story, essays George Hendrick (born 1929)
62 Ezra Pound (1885–1972)  United States poetry, essays Hans Galinsky (1909–1991)
63 Zayn al-ʻĀbidīn Rahnamā (1894–1990)  Iran history, essays, translation Ali-Asghar Hekmat (1893–1980)
64 Wilhelm Röpke (1899–1966)  Germany essays Olof Gigon (1912–1998)
65 Nelly Sachs (1891–1970)  Germany
poetry, drama
66 Aksel Sandemose (1899–1965)  Denmark
novel, essays Eyvind Johnson (1900–1976)
67 Alan Sillitoe (1928–2010)  United Kingdom novel, short story, essays, poetry, translation Robert Graves (1895–1985)
68 Georges Simenon (1903–1989)  Belgium novel, short story, memoir René Kaech (1909–1989)
69 Upton Sinclair (1878–1968)  United States novel, short story, drama, autobiography, essays Sidney Kaplan (1913–1993)
70 Charles Percy Snow (1905–1980)  United Kingdom novel, essays
  • Friedrich Schubel (1904–1991)
  • Sylvère Monod (1921–2006)
71 Mikhail Sholokhov (1905–1984)  Russia novel
72 Carl Erik Soya (1896–1983)  Denmark short story, drama, screenplay, poetry, essays The Danish PEN-Club
73 Stijn Streuvels (1871–1969)  Belgium novel, short story Maurice Gilliams (1900–1982)
74 Jun'ichirō Tanizaki (1886–1965)  Japan novel, short story Harry Martinson (1904–1978)
75 Gustave Thibon (1903–2001)  France philosophy Édouard Delebecque (1910–1990)
76 Miguel Torga (1907–1995)  Portugal poetry, short story, novel, drama, autobiography Göran Hammarström (1922–2019)
80 Lionel Trilling (1905–1975)  United States essays, literary criticism, short story Lewis Gaston Leary (1906–1990)
81 Henri Troyat (1911–2007)  France novel, biography, history Ernst Dickenmann (1902–1985)
82 Pietro Ubaldi (1886–1972)  Italy philosophy, essays Academia Santista de Letras
83 Giuseppe Ungaretti (1888–1970)  Italy poetry, essays, literary criticism Otis Fellows (1908–1993)
84 Tarjei Vesaas (1897–1970)  Norway poetry, novel
  • Elie Poulenard (1901–1985)
  • Johannes Andreasson Dale (1898–1975)
85 Simon Vestdijk (1898–1971)  Netherlands novel, poetry, essays, translation
86 Robert Penn Warren (1905–1989)  United States novel, poetry, essays, literary criticism Cleanth Brooks (1906–1994)
87 Thornton Wilder (1897–1975)  United States drama, novel, short story
  • Frederick Albert Pottle (1897–1987)
  • Peter Wapnewski (1922–2012)
88 Edmund Wilson (1895–1972)  United States essays, literary criticism, short story, drama
89 Judith Wright (1915–2000)  Australia poetry, literary criticism, novel, essays Greta Hort (1903–1967)
90 Marguerite Yourcenar (1903–1987)  France novel, essays, poetry Ida-Marie Frandon (1907–1997)
91 Juan Antonio de Zunzunegui (1901–1982)  Spain novel Elie Poulenard (1901–1985)
92 Arnold Zweig (1887–1968)  Germany novel, short story
93 Arnulf Øverland (1889–1968)  Norway poetry, essays

Prize decision

The Nobel committee of the Swedish Academy was unanimous to propose that the prize should be awarded to Mikhail Sholokhov, who had been a candidate for many years and a main candidate for the prize the previous year. The committee discussed a proposal to share the prize between Sholokhov and Anna Akhmatova, but the idea was rejected by the committees' chairman Anders Österling saying that the authors had nothing but their language in common. The committee also discussed the possibility of a shared prize to Miguel Angel Asturias and Jorge Luis Borges, and to Shmuel Yosef Agnon and Nelly Sachs respectively.[7]


The choice of Sholokhov was widely criticised for being politically motivated, but was celebrated by the authorities in the Soviet Union.[7]


  1. ^ Nobel Prize in Literature 1965 nobelprize.org
  2. ^ a b Mikhail Sholokhov – Facts nobelprize.org
  3. ^ Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov britannica.com
  4. ^ Nomination archive – Mikhail Sholokhov nobelprize.org
  5. ^ a b Nomination archive – Michail Solochov nobelprize.org
  6. ^ a b Nomination archive – 1965 nobelprize.org
  7. ^ a b Kaj Schueler (5 January 2016). "Sanningen om den mest omstridda nobelpristagaren" (in Swedish). Svenska Dagbladet.