40 women, in total, have been awarded the Nobel Prize between 1901 and 2009. The first Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded in 1901, though it was 1909 before a woman received the prize in this category.
The very first Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded in 1901 to the French poet and philosopher Sully Prudhomme, who in his poetry showed the "rare combination of the qualities of both heart and intellect". Over the years, the Nobel Prize in Literature has distinguished the works of authors from many different languages and cultural backgrounds. The prize has been awarded to unknown masters as well as authors acclaimed worldwide (http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/).
Twelve women received their Nobel Prize in the Literature category.