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Updated by Vaishnavi Kumar on Oct 29, 2016
Headline for Past Nobel Prize Controversies In Literature
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Past Nobel Prize Controversies In Literature

With Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize In Literature this year, the world has spoken out calling it a disgrace to the legacy of the name. Here's a list of some of the top controversies that the committee dug up for themselves when they decided these other winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature in the past.

1

Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa

Vargas Llosa was even dubbed "king of controversies" for focusing more in politics than literature which garnered a lot of criticism in 2010 when the prize was announced.

2

Herta Müller

Herta Müller

The popularity of the author was the reason for a lot of condemn. People hadn't even heard of Muller and was attacked by many US literary critics and professors. This reignited criticism that the committee was too Eurocentric.

3

Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter

The 2005 prize went to Harold Pinter but the award was delayed for some days, apparently due to Knut Ahnlund's resignation. In turn, this renewed speculation about a "political element" existing in the Swedish Academy's awarding of the Prize. Although poor health prevented him from giving his controversial Nobel Lecture, "Art, Truth and Politics", in person, he appeared on video, which was simultaneously transmitted on Britain's Channel Four. The issue of "political stance" was also raised in response to Orhan Pamuk and Doris Lessing, prizewinners in 2006 and 2007, respectively.

4

Elfriede Jelinek

Elfriede Jelinek

The 2004 prize was awarded to Elfriede Jelinek. Inactive since 1996 Academy member Knut Ahnlund resigned, alleging that selecting Jelinek had caused "irreparable damage" to the prize's reputation.

5

Dario Fo

Dario Fo

The 1997 prize went to Italian actor-playwright Dario Fo who was initially considered "rather lightweight" by some critics, as he was seen primarily as a performer and had previously been censured by the Roman Catholic Church. Salman Rushdie and Arthur Miller had been favored to receive the Prize, but a committee member was later quoted as saying that they would have been "too predictable, too popular"

6

Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson

Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson

The 1974 prize was denied to Graham Greene, Vladimir Nabokov, and Saul Bellow in favor of a joint award for Swedish authors Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson—both Nobel judges and unknown outside their home country. Bellow won in 1976; neither Greene nor Nabokov took home the prize.

7

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The 1970 prize was awarded to Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who did not attend the ceremony in Stockholm for fear that the Soviet Union would prevent his return. His works there were available only in samizdat-published, clandestine form. After the Swedish government refused to hold a public award ceremony and lecture at its Moscow embassy, Solzhenitsyn refused the award altogether, commenting that the conditions set by the Swedes (who preferred a private ceremony) were "an insult to the Nobel Prize itself." Solzhenitsyn later accepted the award on 10 December 1974, after the Soviet Union banished him.