Sinclair Lewis is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humor, new types of characters." Lewis, born in Sauk Center, Minnesota, was the first American to win the distinguished award.
Lewis established his literary reputation in the 1920s with a series of satirical novels about small-town life in the United States, including Main Street (1920), Babbitt (1922), Arrowsmith (1925), and Elmer Gantry (1927). In these novels, his central characters strive to escape their emotionally and intellectually repressive environments, with varying degrees of success. In 1926, he turned down the Pulitzer Prize awarded him for Arrowsmith but in 1930 decided to accept Sweden's Nobel Prize.