Winston Churchill

In 1953, Winston Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in which category?

And the answer: literature.

Photo courtesy: public domain. 

While Churchill had previously been a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, he won in 1953 for Literature. The official declaration explains that he won for "his mastery of historical and biographical description, as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values."

The Nobel was awarded to Churchill following several years of deliberation. Up until his nomination for the prize, it was generally understood that the Academy had assumed an obligation not to crown any writer who was either holding a government position or playing a prominent political role in his country at the time of his candidacy. Churchill's nomination deserted this precedent. In fact, it, too, bent the rules of secrecy regarding the final vote, as the Prime Minister was consulted several days before his win was announced. While he expressed his immediate gratitude and honor to receive such a prize, his private secretary recalls Churchill's personal reaction:

“Churchill deeply wished to be remembered as a peacemaker…. I remember vividly his early and touching joy, which turned to indifference when he learned that it was for Literature and not for Peace.”

Churchill produced many thorough, non-fiction works over the course of his forced hiatus from Parliament. His six years of involuntary leisure were devoted to composing six volumes of notes and memoirs on the Second World War, of which the last was published in 1953. It was a sustained consideration of his work Marlborough that ultimately won Churchill the esteemed prize.

Check out the video below to see Lady Churchill claim the prize on behalf of her husband.

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