The Culture First Look

Bob Dylan says he will finally get around to picking up that Nobel Prize

Bob Dylan, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature last year, says that he will meet with members of the Swedish Academy in Stockholm to collect his Nobel diploma and medal, the academy said Wednesday.

Bob Dylan performs during day 2 of The Hop Festival in Paddock Wood, Kent, in 2012.
Ki Price/Reuters/File
|
Caption

Bob Dylan, the first songwriter to win a Nobel Prize, will finally collect his Nobel diploma and medal during a visit to Stockholm, Sweden, this weekend.

The Swedish Academy, which traditionally gives out the Nobel Prize for literature, announced that Mr. Dylan would be the winner of Nobel Prize for Literature back in October 2016, for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." But since then, Dylan has eluded the official handing over of the award, much to the frustration of the academy.

Immediately after hearing about his nomination, the songwriter, who was on tour at the time, remained silent on the subject of the award for a whole week, prompting one academy member to call him "arrogant." Later, Dylan said he had simply been rendered speechless by the magnitude of the award, announcing that he would attend the Dec. 10 awards ceremony if possible. However, Dylan ended up sending fellow musician and writer Patti Smith to the ceremony in his stead due to "prior commitments."

Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the academy, wrote in a blog post on the academy website that they are "very much looking forward to the weekend" with Dylan and will attend one of his concerts. She added that that the official meeting between Dylan and the academy will be "small and intimate, and no media will be present," per Dylan's wishes.

Usually, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature goes to poets, novelists, or writers of short stories, but the Academy decided to make an exception for Dylan. As The Christian Science Monitor reported in December:

The academy compared his work to that of ancient Greek poets, which were written primarily to be performed rather than read.

“If you look far back, 5000 years, you discover Homer and Sappho. They wrote poetic texts which were meant to be performed, and it’s the same way for Bob Dylan,” Sara Danius, the academy’s permanent secretary, said. “We still read Homer and Sappho, and we enjoy it.”

“Bob Dylan writes poetry for the ear,” she added. “But it’s perfectly fine to read his works as poetry.”

The recognition comes with a prize of 8 million Swedish kronor, the equivalent of $900,000. Rather than giving the honor for a specific piece of work, the academy awards the literature prize as a lifetime achievement.

During the Stockholm visit, Dylan will not give the traditional Nobel lecture. However, Ms. Danius said that a recorded version would be sent out at a later date.

The songwriter will also be performing concerts in Stockholm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Dylan is only the ninth American overall to win the Nobel Prize for Literature and the first since 1993, when Ohio-born Toni Morrison took home the prize. Dylan has also won a number of other awards for his songwriting, including several Grammys, an Oscar for Best Original Song, and a Pulitzer Prize for his contributions to American music and culture.

This report includes material from the Associated Press.