Famous American singer and songwriter, Bob Dylan, won the 2016 Nobel Prize for literature for ‘having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition’.
The award was announced in Stockholm on October 13. The Swedish Academy’s permanent secretary, Sara Danius, said Dylan is a great poet in the English-speaking tradition.
She added,”If you look back, far back, 2,500 years or so, you discover Homer and Sappho and they wrote poetic texts that were meant to be listened to, that were meant to be performed, often with instruments — and it’s the same way with Bob Dylan.”
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) 13 October 2016
Though Dylan doesn’t fall under the ambit of literary writers, he has been praised for his creative output and constant reinvention of himself.
“Mr. Dylan’s work remains utterly lacking in conventionality, moral sleight of hand, pop pabulum or sops to his audience. His lyricism is exquisite; his concerns and subjects are demonstrably timeless; and few poets of any era have seen their work bear more influence,” the former Rolling Stones bass player Bill Wyman wrote in a 2013 Op-Ed essay in The New York Times arguing for Dylan to get the award.
He is the first American to win since the novelist Toni Morrison, in 1993.
Dylan was born in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1941. he performed in several bands, clubs and cafes before signing his first album in “Bob Dylan,” in 1962.
While some are celebrating Dylan’s victory, other cast doubts on giving a literary award to a ‘musician’.
Congratulations to Bob Dylan on the Nobel Prize for Literature. He launched me and many others on oceans of which we’d never dreamed…
— Robyn Hitchcock (@RobynHitchcock) 13 October 2016
Dylan! Wow! That’s a great choice…his voice, his lyrics, his take on the world shaped a generation and beyond.
— Joan Bakewell (@JDBakewell) October 13, 2016
If Bob Dylan can win the Nobel Prize for literature then I think @StephenKing should get elected to the Rock N’ Roll hall of fame.
— Jason Pinter (@jasonpinter) October 13, 2016
This feels like the lamest Nobel win since they gave it to Obama for not being Bush
— Hari Kunzru (@harikunzru) October 13, 2016
The idea that Dylan is a greater writer (rather than song versifier) than Philip Roth is, frankly, absurd. https://t.co/jLCaBBd3Nf
— Rock’s Backpages (@rocksbackpages) October 13, 2016
Bookmakers’ favorites for 2016 included Japanese author Haruki Murakami, American novelist Philip Roth and Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o but the actual list of nominees is secret.