Ernest Hemingway is Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature

Steve Newman Writer
6 min readMay 26, 2021

“Although Hemingway was, deep down, very proud to have won the Nobel Prize, it was the attention and pressure it brought with it that was not so good, especially after the African air crashes: which created a period of depression…”

In October 1954 Ernest Hemingway received notification that he’d been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and immediately telephoned Colonel ‘Buck’ Lanham, as Carlos Baker reports:

“ Lanham had recently returned from Europe to the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia. Bored by inaction, he resolved to enter the hospital for repair of a long-standing hernia. One day in late October, a nurse appeared. ‘General,’ said she, ‘you have a long-distance call.’ The voice was unmistakably Ernest’s.

“ ‘ Buck, I just called to tell you I got that thing.’

“ ‘ That thing? What thing?’

“ ‘ That Swedish thing. You know.’

“ ‘ You mean the Nobel Prize?’

“ ‘ Yeah,’ said Ernest, ‘You’re the first one I called.’

“ ‘ God-damned wonderful,’ Lanham said. ‘Congratulations.’

“ ‘ I should have had the damn thing long ago,’ said Ernest. ‘I’m thinking of telling them to shove it.’

“ ‘ Don’t be a jackass. You can’t do that.’

“ ‘ Well, maybe not,’ said Ernest. ‘ There’s thirty-five thousand dollars. You and I can have a hell of a lot of fun with thirty-five thousand dollars.’ ”

Hemingway went on to explain that he wanted his old war time comrade to come down to Cuba and help him out by keeping the hordes of reporters — who were likely to arrive any moment — at bay. Lanham explained that he’d just had an operation for a hernia. Hell Buck said Hemingway, that’s nothing. No you’re right Hem said Lanham, I managed to walk down the corridor here with my guts in my hands just to talk to you. Hemingway then told his dearest friend, a man he’d ‘fought’ with, that he wasn’t going to Sweden, his doctor wouldn’t allow it, which wasn’t true. Lanham would have loved to go down to Cuba, but his doctor wouldn’t allow it, not even for Ernest Hemingway, which was true.

Steve Newman Writer

Playwright and Freelance Writer…