Five Nobel Prize-Winning Authors Whose Works Advocate for Compassion

Widen your perspective and read some of these Nobel-winning authors who preach peace, kindness, and compassion.

Author's Corner Book Culture Classics Diverse Voices Diversity Featured Authors Memoirs & Biographies Recommendations

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to many foundationalist leaders who have made great strides in our history. Within the prize, there are five other subsects that are equally as outstanding. The authors below have won the Nobel Prize in Literature for having “in the field of literature, produced the most outstanding work in an idealistic direction”.

Their works are incomparable in expression and direction, but all make for outstanding, educational reads. Ignorance leads to inequality and prejudice, and the more one learns, the more one can work towards having an open mind and gaining new understandings and fresh perspectives. Through the turmoil, war, devastation, or systematic oppression, these Novel laureate authors ruminate over life, death, and friendship, and ultimately express the importance of compassion and unity.

Kazuo Ishiguro


Kazuo Ishiguro “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.”

Ishiguro was born in Japan but moved with his parents to Britain when he was five due to a deal his oceanographer father had with the British government. Ishiguro’s mother had a huge influence on him growing up, as she told him many stories about the war she experienced in Japan. His latest novel Klara and the Sun is a story about maternal devotion and love prevailing through technological advancements and is dedicated to his mother.

His stories take place in a variety of settings — some in the past, some in parallel universes, and some in the far, unknown future — and excel in emotional expression. Ishiguro’s messages resemble each other, and ask for the reader to live unique experiences and, above all, always believe in love.

Doris Lessing


Doris Lessing “that epicist of the female experience, who with skepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny.”

Born in Persia to a rigid, internally misogynistic mother and a war-ridden father, Doris Lessing dropped out of school at thirteen and fled from home when she was fifteen. Having moved to Southern Rhodesia, Lessing quickly found work and read books on sociology and politics, and formed her own education. After a series of years of marrying and divorcing, and working a variety of jobs, Doris settled on writing and went on to publish several novels and short stories.

Lessing’s childhood and observations on writers’ motivations and societal standards maintained the topic of her writings. She was one of the first to write about female anger and explore the female experience. But she did not limit herself to just one aspect of rumination.

Drawing upon her childhood memories and her serious engagement with politics and social concerns, Lessing has written about the clash of cultures, the gross injustices of racial inequality, the struggle among opposing elements within an individual’s own personality, and the conflict between the individual conscience and the collective good.”

from Doris Lessing’s biography

Her works encourage readers to push themselves beyond societal standards and develop kindness within themselves and toward others. These themes are still relevant to this day.

Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat”.

Vargas Llosa’s most famous work, La ciudad y los perros, depicts young people fighting for survival through times of violence. The rest of his novels also portray the horrors of war and actively express anti-totalitarian intellect. Through a combination of his own personal experiences and drawing on historical events, Vargas Llosa critiques corrupt social institutions and oppressive leaders.

Heavily discouraged to write by his father, Vargas Llosa was sent to a military academy as a preventive measure against literature. His first novel was based on the truth about his time at the academy and was, in turn, banned by Peruvian military leaders. Reading his works help spotlight why we need peace among one another. His recounts renounce systematic abuse and societal inadequacies and instead call for unity and tenderness.

Toni Morrison


Toni Morrison “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.”

One of the most important American writers of our time, Morrison’s stories are dark, disturbing, and show the horrors of a world where compassion is lost. She discusses oppression, conformity, the harsh consequences of racism, and the journey of realizing an individual’s cultural identity.

After growing up surrounded by oral stories of African-American folktales and ghost stories and constantly reading classics, Morrison went on to study English and even earned a Master of Arts. While at university, she observed segregation and hierarchies based on skin color.

Her poetic and passionate stories are essential readings for gaining perspective on racism and the African-American experience. She relinquishes division within cultures and encourages unification.

Svetlana Alexievich

Svetlana Alexievich “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.”

Alexievich is one of the few laureates to win in the nonfiction genre in which she narrates Soviet and post-Soviet culture. Born to a Belarusian father and a Ukrainian mother in Ukraine, Alexievich consumed a multitude of cultures. As she studied by the border, she blended journalism and literature as a means to create what she described as “a history of human feelings.”

Her works document the women and children involved in the crossfire of war. For her largest publication, U voyny ne zhenskoe litso (War’s Unwomanly Face), Alexievich interviewed hundreds of Soviet women in World War II. She uncovered nationalism, avoided censorship, heightened the importance of translation and oral history, and captured humanity and truth beyond turmoil. In these times of war that still exist today, Alexievich’s stories are paramount and needed.

Overall, through devastation and hardship, literature perseveres and champions kindness, love, and peace. For more articles about war and peace, click here.