A List Of Five Prestigious Literary Awards

Posted on July 31, 2012 in Specials

By Sukrati Rastogi:

Many literary awards are given throughout the world each year. They are given to celebrate the best of the authors. While some works are of international level, others are of national level with awards being annual or biennial. I would like to talk about 5 most popular literary awards given to writers, authors, poets etc.


“The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: …one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction …”
(Excerpt from the will of Alfred Nobel)

This is an international prize, given since 1901 to the most extraordinary contribution in the literary field. The winner can be from any country. The laureate is awarded by Swedish Academy and is given in early October of every year. It was established by Alfred Nobel in his will in 1895 and given by the Swedish king. The award includes a medal, diploma and a document confirming the prize money. It focuses not only on literary works but also human rights issues. Its recipients include Sully Prudhomme of France in 1901, Rudyard Kipling and Rabindranath Tagore.


This is sponsored by the University of Oklahoma and World Literature Today. Established by Ivar Ivask, the editor of Books Abroad, an Estonian poet and professor, it is a biennial award, originated in US. The award got its present name in 1976. It includes poets, playwrights and novelists. The laureate gets a silver eagle feather, a certificate and $50000. The recipients include Giuseppe Ungaretti in 1970 and Rohinton Mistry in 2012.


This also is a biennial award given not only to English publications but also English translations. While The Man Booker started in1969, The Man Booker International prize began in 2004. While it is only confined to the Commonwealth counties, Zimbabwe and Ireland the International Prize is opened to all nations. The prize money is $60000. Its recipients include PH Newby for “Something to Answer For” and Arundhati Roy for “God of Small Things”. In 1993 and 2008 to mark their 25th and 40th anniversary respectively the best of Booker Prize was chosen. Both times it was won by Salman Rushdie for “Midnight Children”. Many other Indians have received this award including Kiran Desai and Aravind Adiga. Ismail Kadare of Albania won the first Man Booker International Prize in 2004 while Philip Roth of America won in 2011.


It was started in 1917 by Joseph Pulitzer. It is given for online journalism, literature and musical competitions and administered by the Columbia University. The entry fee here is $500. The award includes a certificate and $10000. Joseph Pulitzer in his will left $250000 for this prize and scholarships. There are 21 categories relating to news paper, arts, letters and fiction. The Pulitzer Prize for fiction started in 1918. It was given to Ernest Poole for “This Family”. No award has been given for 2012 till now.


This was started by Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain on his 50th birthday on 22nd may, 1961. It is given in India and is one of the two most prestigious literary awards. It is only awarded to an Indian citizen who has written in any of the official languages in India. The award includes a cheque of 7 lakh rupees and a bronze replica of Saraswati. It is awarded for lifetime contribution in Indian literature. Shankara Kurup of Kerela got the Jnanpith award for “Odakkuzhel” in 1965and in 2010 Chandrshekhar recieved this prize for his contribution to Kannada literature.

These awards are aspirations of many writers, poets etc. every year. They are of great honour and prestige and are respected by millions all over the world.