The mysterious workings of the Nobel committee remain a secret until 50 years after the award is made, when the archive for that year is opened in the Nobel library in Stockholm. Swedish reporter Andreas Ekström delved into 1961's previously classified documents on their release this week, to find the jury passed over names including Lawrence Durrell, Robert Frost, Graham Greene, EM Forster and Tolkien to come up with their eventual winner, Yugoslavian writer Ivo Andrić.
Andrić was lauded for "the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country"
The prose of Tolkien – who was nominated by his friend and fellow fantasy author CS Lewis – "has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality", wrote jury member Anders Österling. Frost, on the other hand, was dismissed because of his "advanced age" – he was 86 at the time – with the jury deciding the American poet's years were "a fundamental obstacle, which the committee regretfully found it necessary to state". Forster was also ruled out for his age <...>