As Kjell Stromberg suggests on his article for The Chuchill Centre, there have been a few occasions when the Swedish Academy “has surprised everyone by its choice of Nobel laureates” (Kjell Stromberg, The Churchil Centre, The Literature Nobel Prize) , and 1953 was one of those. In that year, nobody could have guessed that the person awarded with the Literarture Nobel Prize was no other but the British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.
Ignoring the “tacit obligation of not to crown any writer who was either holding a government position or playing a political role of first rank in his country at the time his candidacy might be presented” (Kjell Stromberg, The Churchil Centre, The Literature Nobel Prize)the Swedish Academy awarded Churchill, who had been elected Prime Minister for the second time in 1951, “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.” (The Nobel Prize Web Site, The Nobel Prize in Literature 1953).
In fact, few people know about this aspect of the british politcal leader, who wrote exceptional biographies about his father, Life of Randolph Churchill (1906), and about one of his most famous ancestors, the Duke of Marlborough, Marlborough: His Life and Times (1933-38), apart from writing the history of the First World War (six volumes, 1923-1931), of the Second World War (six volumes, 1948-1953) and the History of the English-Speaking People (four volumes, 1956-1958).
On the traditional Banquet Speech, Churchill recognised that “the Nobel Prize in Literature is an honour for me alike unique and unexpected”, and apologized for not been able to read the message himself because of his duties, confiding that dute to his wife (The Nobel Prize Web Page, The Nobel Prize in Literature 1953, Banquet Speech).
All in all, again, as Kjell Stromberg claims, “whatever may have been the literary merits of this extraordinary laureate, it is certain that for most people throughout the world he was chiefly, if not exclusively, the great statesman who had been the architect of victory in the greatest of all wars”(Kjell Stromberg, The Churchil Centre, The Literature Nobel Prize) .
- “Winston Churchill – Banquet Speech”. Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2013. Retrieved 30 Dececember, 2013 from http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1953/churchill-speech.html
- Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969. Retrieved 30 December, 2013 from http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1953/press.html
- “The Nobel Prize in Literature 1953”. Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2013. Retrieved 30 Dececember, 2013 from http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1953/
- Stromberg. K, The 1953 Nobel Prize, The Churchill Centre. Retrieved 30 December, 2013, from http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/biography/redux/nobel-prize-for-literature