Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” Was Rejected for a Nobel Prize

June 1, 2024

Lord of the Rings

FAST FACT

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings in 1954 and 1955, and today it is considered a classic of literature, but some who were giving out prizes in the 60s didn’t feel the same way. J.R.R Tolkien was rejected for a Nobel Prize in 1961 because his storytelling wasn’t “the highest quality.” In other words, the members of the jury thought Tolkien just didn’t tell a good story.

The Nobel committee’s thoughts had been a secret until 2012 when Andreas Ekstrom, a Swedish reporter, found the news after classified documents were made available by the Nobel Library in Stockholm, Sweden. Ivo Andric was awarded the prize in 1961, and the documents showed that the committee wasn’t impressed with Tolkien’s story. He didn’t even finish in the top three. One of the jury members wrote that the story “has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality.” It’s really too bad that the whole “Lord of the Rings” thing didn’t work out.

About the author 

Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium, our ad-free subscription sites. I hope you learn many new things here that add to your knowledge.

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