American Nobel Winners

Drew Farrell/Retna

Drew Farrell/Retna

Toni Morrison, 1993

The last American winner of the prize, best known for her novels Beloved and The Bluest Eye. Despite her win, some critics in America say her literary reputation remains shaky.

Horst Tappe/Hulton Archive/Getty

Czeslaw Milosz, 1980

Born in Lithuania, the poet Milosz defected from Poland to France in 1951 after spending World War II in Warsaw. He became a US citizen in 1970 and taught at Berkeley.

Kathy Willens/AP

Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1978

The Polish-born Singer emigrated to the US in 1935 and wrote for the Yiddish newspaper The Forward. Best known as a short story writer.

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Saul Bellow, 1976

Bellow's semi-autobiographical novels, the most famous of which are The Adventures of Augie March and Herzog, draw much inspiration from Chicago.


John Steinbeck, 1962

The author of The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men became a best seller again when Oprah Winfrey chose his East of Eden for her book club.


Ernest Hemingway, 1954

The troubled "Papa," writer of A Farewell to Arms, The Old Man and the Sea, and many others, took his own life in Idaho at the age of 61.


William Faulkner, 1949

Known as the godfather of Southern literature, Faulkner set many of his works, including The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying, in Mississippi, where he lived.


Pearl S. Buck, 1938

As the child of missionaries, the Good Earth author spend many years in China and went on to published more than 70 books, many of them focused on rural China.


Eugene O'Neill, 1936

The playwright O'Neill, best known for Long Day's Journey into Night, was one of the first to bring realism to the American stage and often created characters on the fringe of society.


Sinclair Lewis, 1930

Lewis' Babbitt satirized American commercial culture, while his later Elmer Gantry roused the ire of religious leaders with its depiction of the hypocrisy of evangelism.