spacer Ernest Hemingway receiving the Nobel Prize The early 1950s yielded a number of noteworthy honors for Hemingway. In May 1953, The Old Man and the Sea earned him the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. The following spring, the American Academy of Arts and Letters bestowed on him its prestigious Medal of Merit. Then, in October 1954, word came to him in Cuba that he had won the Nobel Prize in literature. Hemingway had often professed disdain for that ultimate honor, but when it came his way, there was no doubt that he was pleased. Claiming ill health, he said he could not go to Sweden to receive the award. Instead, the Swedish ambassador to Cuba came to his home outside of Havana to present him with the Nobel medal and citation.

Hemingway being awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, October 1954
Unidentified photographer / Gelatin silver print, 1954
Image courtesy Ernest Hemingway Collection, John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts


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Hemingway at desk
Hemingway's birthday party