Pappy's Prize

December 10, 1950

I feel that this award was not made to me as a man but to my work — a life’s work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit.

— William Faulkner, accepting the Nobel Prize in Literature at ceremonies in Stockholm.

With his 17-year-old daughter, Jill, at his side, Faulkner donned white tie and tails for the first time in his life. Though he was hailed by the head of the prize committee as an “unrivaled master" of all living American novelists, the 53-year-old Faulkner listed his career as farmer in remarks to swarming reporters.

A few days later, the newspaper published Jill’s full-page, first-person account of the trip abroad with "Pappy" under the headline: A Dixie Miss Sees Her Dad Get the Nobel Prize

On that same day, this anecdote appeared:

About his full dress suit, he was asked where he would wear it in Oxford. “Might wear it deer hunting," he said.

Top Photo: On Dec. 6, 1950, William Faulkner’s wife, Estelle, said goodbye to him at Memphis Airport as he traveled with their daughter, Jill (right), while en route to Stockholm via New York to accept the Nobel Prize for literature. When Faulkner learned in November that he had won the award, he was reluctant to leave his cherished privacy in Oxford, Miss., and travel to Sweden to accept the prize. A determined family conference, however, resulted in a plan to get him to go. Estelle’s argument was especially convincing. She asked William to give Jill an opportunity to travel in Europe. (The Commercial Appeal)

Bottom Photo: William Faulkner (right), the American author from Oxford, Miss., wears white tie and tails as he receives the 1949 Nobel Prize for literature from King Gustaf VI of Sweden during ceremonies in the Stockholm Concert Hall on Dec. 10, 1950. (AP Photo/Files)

Duncan Williams
Duncan Williams