Here are 14 women who won Nobel Literature Prize out of 114 laureates

Women make up half of mankind, but only 14 of the 114 Nobel Literature Prize laureates.

Here is a list of the women who have won the prestigious honour since it was first awarded in 1901.

2015 - Svetlana Alexeivich (Belarus)

Svetlana Alexievich, born on 31 May 1948, is a Belarusian journalist, teacher and editor. Alexievich was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time." 

Her major works are her grand cycle Voices of Utopia, which consists of five parts. Svetlana Alexievich's books criticize political regimes in both the Soviet Union and later Belarus.


2013 - Alice Munro (Canada)

Alice Munro, born  10 July 1931, is a Canadian short story writer and bookstore owner. Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013 for being "master of the contemporary short story." 

The underlying themes of her work are often relationship problems and moral conflicts. The relationship between memory and reality is another recurring theme she uses to create tension. Munro also won the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work. 


2009 - Herta Mueller (Germany)

Herta Mueller, born 17 August 1953, is a teacher and author who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature for her "concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed."

Mueller's literary works address an individual's vulnerability under oppression and persecution. Her works are rooted in her experiences as one of Romania's German-speaking ethnic minority. Her literary works are largely prosaic, although she also writes poetry.


2007 - Doris Lessing (Britain)

Doris Lessing, born 22 October 1919, was a British nursemaid, telephonist, stenographer, journalist, and short story writer. Lessing was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature for being "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny." 

Doris Lessing's body of work comprises around 50 books and spans several genres. Her most experimental novel, 'The Golden Notebook', from 1962, is a study of a woman's psyche and life situation, the lot of writers, sexuality, political ideas, and everyday life.


2004 - Elfriede Jelinek (Austria)

Elfriede Jelinek, born 20 October 1946, is an Austrian novelist. Jelinek was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2004 for "her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power."

Among her most famous works we find the novels 'The Piano Teacher' and 'Lust', both of which are characterized by a satirical sharpness, an experimental urge and an uncompromising outspokenness.


1996 - Wislawa Szymborska (Poland)

Wislawa Szymborska, born on 2 July, 1923 was a Polish poetry editor and columnist. Szymborska was awarded with the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. 

Szymborska has published 16 collections of poetry and has also translated French poetry.Wislawa Szymborska is the Goethe Prize winner (1991) and Herder Prize winner (1995). She has a degree of Honorary Doctor of Letters of Poznan University (1995). In 1996 she received the Polish PEN Club prize.


1993 - Toni Morrison (United States)

Toni Morrison, born 18 February 1931, was an American novelist, essayist, book editor, and college professor. Morrison was awarded with the Nobel Literature Prize in 1993. 

Morrison’s first book, The Bluest Eye (1970), is a novel of initiation concerning a victimized adolescent black girl who is obsessed by white standards of beauty and longs to have blue eyes. Morrison also won the Pulitzer Prize for Beloved (1987). 


1991 - Nadine Gordimer (South Africa)

Nadine Gordimer, born 20 November 1923, was a South African novelist and political activist. Gordimer was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991 who "through her magnificent epic writing has - in the words of Alfred Nobel - been of very great benefit to humanity."

Nadine Gordimer's works include novels, short stories, and essays. During the 1960s and 1970s, she wrote a number of novels set against the backdrop of the emerging resistance movement against apartheid, while liberated South Africa provides the backdrop for her later works, written in the 1990s. 



1945 - Gabriela Mistral (Chile)

Gabriela Mistral, born 7 April 1889, was  a Chilean poet-diplomat, educator and humanist. Mistral was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945. 

The love poems in memory of the dead, Sonetos de la muerte (1914), made her known throughout Latin America, but her first great collection of poems, Desolación [Despair], was not published until 1922. Her complete poetry was published in 1958.


1938 - Pearl Buck (United States)

Pearl buck, born June 26, 1892, was an American writer and novelist. Buck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. 

Pearl Buck began to write in the twenties; her first novel, East Wind, West Wind, appeared in 1930. It was followed by The Good Earth (1931), Sons (1932), and A House Divided (1935), together forming a trilogy on the saga of the family of Wang. The Good Earth stood on the American list of 'best sellers' for a long time and earned her several awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize and the William Dean Howells Medal. 


Women achievers of the Nobel Literature Prize

Other women who have also been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature include - 

1966 - Nelly Sachs (Sweden)

1928 - Sigrid Undset (Norway)

1926 - Grazia Deledda (Italy)

1909 - Selma Lagerlof (Sweden)