In Wikipedia it's stated that Licio Gelli

In 1996, Gelli was nominated as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, supported by Mother Teresa and Naguib Mahfouz.

The references give some (little) evidence to this claim -rather curious, considering that there is almost no mention of his work as writer. I'd like to find out it this is really true - both the nomination and the people who supposedly supported him.

  • 1
    Wikipedia provides two sources for this claim. If these don't convince you, what does?
    – gerrit
    Jan 13, 2015 at 16:55

1 Answer 1


The reason there seems to be little evidence is because nominees are intentionally kept secret for 50 years.

From the Nobel Prize site (emphasis added):

Are the nominations made public? The statutes of the Nobel Foundation restrict disclosure of information about the nominations, whether publicly or privately, for 50 years. The restriction concerns the nominees and nominators, as well as investigations and opinions related to the award of a prize.

Everyone involved in the nomination/selection process is restricted from disclosing it.

Of course, people suck at rules, so there are naturally anecdotes about who was nominated. The problem then is sorting that out from the wild speculation that also happens.

The sources given by Wikipedia are in Italian, so I can't assess their accuracy very well. I found another source:

...In 1995 his name was even put forward for the Nobel Prize for Poetry, but the committee proved insensitive to his literary merits, despite letters of recommendation from the Dante Alighieri Prize Committee, presided over by Cardinal Silvio Oddi, the Ministry of Culture of the Kyrghyz Republic, the director of the Literary Institute of Uzbekistan and the Senate of the University of Oradea in Romania. ...

but it claims that he was nominated in 1995, and lists different supporters. This is not to say that both couldn't be true, but I don't believe you're going to find hard evidence either way.

  • 2
    The Nobel Prize for Poetry?
    – GEdgar
    Jan 13, 2015 at 18:47
  • @GEdgar Hey, I didn't write it :P I just assumed he meant literature.
    – Is Begot
    Jan 13, 2015 at 18:50
  • 2
    So this question could get an accepted answer in 2045. Jan 13, 2015 at 20:23
  • @NateEldredge It's possible that there is (or will be) better evidence out there either way (direct statements by someone involved that broke secrecy?); I just haven't seen it. The source I quote sounds like a story related by Gelli himself to a journalist to me, and so do the (badly auto-translated) Italian sources Wikipedia gives, but that doesn't seem very reliable.
    – Is Begot
    Jan 14, 2015 at 14:05
  • 1
    As Italian I can tell you that: the first article linked by Wikipedia contains a casual mention which literary means in '96 his friends nominated him for the Nobel prize. It doesn't mention who were these friends. the second article states that he was nominated, that Mother Teresa and Naguib did support his nomination, and that this data can be found in some documents that the head of the freemasonry lodge (=Gelli) gave in gift to the State archive of Pistoia. I don't know whether documents provided by the subject himself can be considered valid...
    – Bakuriu
    Jan 14, 2015 at 19:48

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