Boston Herald

Soviet Writer Wins Nobel, But May Lose Homeland

October 7, 1970
By Ian Westergren

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Russian writer whose novels are read and acclaimed by millions abroad but banned for political reasons in the Soviet Union, won and accepted the 1970 Nobel Prize in literature yesterday.

Moscow dispatches said Solzhenitsyn would probably be issued a passport to leave the Soviet Union and accept the $78,400 prize at ceremonies here Dec. 10, but there was a good chance he would not be permitted to return to his homeland. Soviet newspapers ignored the news that Solzhenitsyn had won literature’s highest honor.

The Swedish’s Academy of Letters in announcing the prize, said Solzhenitsyn, 52, was cited “for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature.”

Solzhenitsyn’s best=known novels are “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denosovich,” Cancer Ward,” and “The First Circle,” all were bestsellers outside of the Soviet Union earlier this year with suggestion that he exile himself abroad and not return home.
Solzhenitsyn, who spent long years in Stalin’s concentration camps, has been unable to publish anything in the Soviet Union since 1966. “Cancer Ward” and “The First Circle” are accounts of Stalin Era conditions drawn from the author’s personal prison experiences.

The announcements Thursday marked the third time in 12 years that a Russian has won the literature prize. Boris Pasternak won it in 1958 but he rejected the award under pressure from Soviet authorities. Mikhail Sholokhov won the prize 1965 and accepted it. The last American to win the prize was John Steinbeck in 1962.