Basically, in the eyes of the Nobel jury, Tolkien just wasn't good enough. The Nobel committee keeps a vise-like grip on its secrets, only making its inner processes available to the public 50 years after the awards are handed out. A Swedish reporter found the records for the 1961 Nobel Prize and found Tolkien's name on the ballot—he'd been nominated by his good friend and contemporary, The Chronicles of Narnia's C.S. Lewis.
And, while the competition was fierce—Robert Frost, Graham Greene and E.M. Forster were also nominated in '61—Tolkien lost because, in the eyes of the jury, his prose "has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality." (The 1961 Nobel would eventually go to Yugoslavian writer Ivo Andrić.)(Read entire post.)
Ah, there's nothing quite like being so fundamentally wrong ... and then having people find out why. (via The Guardian)
It only proves to me the whole thing is a big nothing.