I was reading the Nobel Prize website page on the nomination and selection of Literature Laureates, and didn't quite understand the list of people and organisations eligible to submit nominations:

The right to submit proposals for the award of a Nobel Prize in Literature shall, by statute, be enjoyed by:

  1. Members of the Swedish Academy and of other academies, institutions and societies which are similar to it in construction and purpose;
  2. Professors of literature and of linguistics at universities and university colleges;
  3. Previous Nobel Laureates in Literature;
  4. Presidents of those societies of authors that are representative of the literary production in their respective countries.

Of the four items in this list, #3 is completely unambiguous, #2 is also pretty clear, and #1 is reasonably clear (although one might quibble about what precisely constitutes being "similar" to the Swedish Academy). The one I really don't get is #4.

What does it mean for a society of authors to be "representative of the literary production in their [country]", for the purposes of the Nobel Prize nomination procedure?

  • 2
    I checked the Academy's page in Swedish, and it's at least not a mistranslation or misprint.
    – andejons
    Aug 22, 2017 at 6:19

1 Answer 1


The identities of nominating bodies are a strictly held secret.

The statutes of the Nobel Foundation restrict disclosure of information about the nominations, whether publicly or privately, for 50 years. The restriction concerns the nominees and nominators, as well as investigations and opinions related to the award of a prize.

That being said, looking at the released Nobel nomination archives (from 1960-1966), we have a few examples to guide us.

  • The Norwegian Authors Union
  • The Pen Club
  • Netherlands Writers Association (evidently a local chapter of Pen International)
  • Peruvian Writers Association (another chapter of Pen International)
  • Yugoslav Writers´ Association
  • The Danish PEN-Club
  • Dutch PEN-Club
  • Austrian PEN-Club (Österreichischer PEN-Klub)
  • Swiss Writers Association (Schweizerischer Schriftstellerverein)
  • The Polish PEN-Club
  • The Portuguese Author´s Society
  • The Brazilian PEN-Club
  • The Greek Authors´ Union

In short, the bulk of these associations appear to be those with a direct relation to Pen International or where their current president was a significant member of Pen, prior to becoming the leader of their country's writer's organisation.

Whether that remains true today is anyone's guess. Ask again in 50 years.


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