Posted on May 14, 2021 at 12:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Choosing a single author to honor with the Nobel Prize for Literature can’t be easy in most years.

But consider the extra burden of knowing that you could literally endanger the honoree’s life, if their home country already has a bone to pick with them.

That, according to newly unveiled archival material from the Swedish Academy, was a very real conversation and not a hypothetical one in 1970.

That year, dissident Soviet writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn received the Nobel, but not without considerable discussion amongst the judges.

The Guardian shares the Nobel judges’ debate over honoring Solzhenitsyn and the short- and long-term repercussions that followed.

Solzhenitsyn had, at that point, written One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich but hadn't yet released Gulag Archipelago, the publication of which resulted in the loss of his Russian citizenship.

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Categories: Today in Books

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