Thursday 17 November 2016

Bob Dylan tells Nobel prize committee he will not attend ceremony

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan has told the Nobel prize committee he will not be attending the ceremony in Sweden to pick up his prize.

Dylan was named winner of this year’s Nobel prize for literature in October for his vast body of lyrics and poetry but has since been reluctant to publicly acknowledge the honour.

The 75-year-old’s silence led him to be labelled “arrogant” by one member of the Nobel academy, and a brief message on his website that he was the “the winner of the Nobel prize for literature 2016” was taken down the next day.

It took two weeks for the singer and songwriter, who has a notoriously troubled relationship to his own fame, to accept a call from the permanent secretary of the academy, Sara Danius. He told them he had been left “speechless” by the honour and later said in an interview he would “absolutely” attend an award ceremony “if it’s at all possible”.

However, in a personal letter to the academy, Dylan told them “he wishes he could receive the prize personally, but other commitments make it unfortunately impossible.”

He underlined that he feels “incredibly honoured by the Nobel prize,” they added.

The Swedish Academy said it “respects Bob Dylan’s decision” but stressed it is “unusual” for a Nobel laureate not to come to Stockholm to accept the award in person.

Dylan is not alone in not attending the ceremony. Novelist Doris Lessing was too old, playwright Harold Pinter was in hospital and writer Elfriede Jelinek had crippling social phobia. Nonetheless, the academy noted: “The prize still belongs to them, just as it belongs to Bob Dylan.”

As this year’s Nobel laureate, Dylan is required “to give a lecture on a subject connected with the work for which the prize has been awarded”. The lecture should be given before, or no later than six months after, the Nobel Prize award ceremony in Stockholm in December.



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