Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, was born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, in 1885. Although he was proud of his Midwestern roots, he traveled widely and was interested in many different aspects of American society, from business and medicine to religion and small town life. His concern with issues involving women, race, and the powerless in society make his work still vital and pertinent today. As Sheldon Norman Grebstein wrote in his work Sinclair Lewis, Lewis "was the conscience of his generation and he could well serve as the conscience of our own. His analysis of the America of the 1920s holds true for the America of today. His prophecies have become our truths and his fears our most crucial problems." Sinclair Lewis was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Main Street and Babbitt, and won the award for Arrowsmith (although he turned it down). He was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He died in Rome in 1951.
More detailed information is provided on our time line of Lewis' life, and we invite you to test your Lewis knowledge with our quiz. For those with a sweet tooth, try your hand at making some of Lewis' favorite recipes. E-mail Dr. Sally Parry of the Sinclair Lewis Society and let her know how you like them!