On laureate Gabriel García Márquez’s 85th birthday (the Colombian master was honored 30 years ago, in 1982, and is the earliest winner still alive), LIFE.com looks back at how LIFE magazine portrayed some Nobel winners through the years: photographs of writers who had already garnered the prestigious —in fact, the most prestigious — of all literary plums, and those who still had a few years to go before the Academy came calling.
Pictured: Ernest Hemingway in Cuba in 1952. He was awarded the Nobel in 1954. When LIFE magazine published Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, in its entirety, in its September 1, 1952, issue, five million copies of the magazine were sold … in two days.
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Great LIFE magazine photo series of Nobel Laureates for Literature.