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.”
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.
Musician Bob Dylan onstage during the 17th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards held at The Hollywood Palladium on January 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1)
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.
He has been awarded 10 Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, one Golden Globe and one Academy Award. He also won a Pulitzer Prize special citation for his profound impact on popular music and American culture in 2008.
While some are celebrating Dylan’s victory, other cast doubts on giving a literary award to a ‘musician’.
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.