In 1930, Sinclair Lewis became the first American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1926 for his novel Arrowsmith, but he refused it because he did not agree with awards based on author competition. For Lewis, the Nobel Prize was different since it is based on an author’s entire body of work instead of individual novels. Another reason Lewis did not accept the Pulitzer could be his bitterness from losing it twice before for Main Street (1921) and Babbitt (1923). He stated that he would have accepted the Pulitzer for either Main Street or Babbitt had either won.
[Information – The Sinclair Lewis Society]
[Photo – mnhs.org]