Nobel Prize Recipient, Social Reformer. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a Russian author, received world-wide notoriety after being awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature. He received this covet award "for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature." His writings made the world aware of the Soviet Union's system of inhuman prisons and labor camps. No nominations for a Nobel Prize candidacy are listed for him, as nominations cannot be revealed until 50 years later. The British newspaper "The Guardian" states, "A great many writers in various countries have lobbied for Solzhenitsyn" for the Nobel Prize. He does not have a Nobel Prize biography and his 1970 acceptance speech was made by Karl Ragnar Gierow, of the Swedish Academy. Expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974, he received his 1970 Nobel Prize at the 1974 presentation ceremony. As an outspoken critic of Communism, he was flown against his will to West Germany, then to Switzerland before entering the United States in 1976, and living in rural Vermont for nearly twenty years. He has a long bibliography of books, poems, speeches, and essays with many translated to English and French. His 1962 "One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich" is the only piece that was published in the Soviet Union until 1990. His book "The First Circle" was published in the West in 1968 in a self-censored version, but an English translation of the full version was eventually published in October of 2009. The four-part book, "The Gulag Archipelago," was written between 1958 and 1968, but not published in the west until 1973, then selling tens of millions of copies. His expulsion from his homeland was the Soviet's retaliation for publishing this book. While in Vermont, he wrote a 10-volume text on the Russia Revolution, "The Red Wheel." He documented his stay in the United States in his two- volume memoirs "Between two Millstones." In the post-Soviet Russia, he wrote "Rebuilding Russia" in 1990 and "Russia in Collapse" in 1998. In 1990 his Soviet citizenship was reinstated and he and his wife returned to a post-Soviet Russia in 1994. Besides writing, he toured Russia by train visiting 17 cities giving speeches. In a ceremony at the Kremlin, in June of 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Solzhenitsyn with the State Prize, Russia's highest honor, for his devotion to the "fatherland." Born into a devoted Eastern Orthodox family, he denied Christianity early in life. After local schooling, he entered Rostov University, majoring in mathematics, while at the same time taking correspondence courses of philosophy, literature, and Russian history from the Moscow Institute. During World War II, he served in the Soviet Army and was decorated three times for being a hero. For criticizing Josef Stalin in a private letter, he was arrested and sentenced eight years in the GULAG, a force-labor camp, and then to internal exile, which was shortened to 1956. During this time, he had returned to the Eastern Orthodox faith. When not writing, he taught school. He married in 1940, but divorced his wife in 1952 as wives of former prisoners were shown retaliation with social rejection, employment loss and eviction from their homes. The couple remarried in 1957 but divorced in 1972. He remarried in 1973 and with his second wife had three sons. His second wife and three sons became United States naturalized citizens. He was honored with his image on a two-ruble coin. He died of heart failure. Numerous biographies have been written about him. Today, "The Gulag Archipelago" is mandatory reading in the Russian school system.
Bio by: Linda Davis