On this World Poetry Day we remember the telephotograph sent from Stockholm to Athens when Giorgos Seferis was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, on 24 October 1963 — the first Nobel prize for Greece — via the first telephotography machine in Greece, first operated by OTE in 1949.
Other candidates were towering global literary figures, such as Pablo Neruda and Yukio Mishima. However, the decision of the Swedish Academy was unanimous. Giorgos Seferis was “selected for his eminent lyrical writing, inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture”, according to the official announcement of the Academy.
Seferis’ speech at the award ceremony made history, as it summarised the importance, particularity, and resilience of Greek civilization.
Later, on 18 October 1979, Odysseas Elytis, the poet of light and the Aegean, of love and the sea, was honoured with a Nobel Prize "for his poetry, which, against the backdrop of Greek tradition, depicts with sensuous strength and intellectual clear-sightedness modern man's struggle for freedom and creativeness”, according to the announcement of the Swedish Academy.
In the first telephotograph from the left, from the Museum’s archive, Seferis receives his Nobel Prize from the King Gustaf of Sweden on 10 December 1963.