Bob Dylan Won the Nobel Literature Prize – But He Won’t Be Accepting It Personally

Bob Dylan Won the Nobel Literature Prize – But He Won’t Be Accepting It Personally
Christina Comben

Bob Dylan fans have been through a rollercoaster of emotions since the megastar was finally awarded the Nobel Literary Prize last month. From extreme excitement and delight to bewilderment, as the infamously aloof Dylan maintained a five-day deafening silence after the announcement was made.

Shocked fans (as well as the Swedish Academy responsible for the award) speculated over his lack of response to the prestigious prize. Was it due to his shyness? His need to upkeep mystique, or just a plain lack of manors?

The first evidence, in fact, that he had acknowledged the prize was in a small update on his website that said “winner of the Nobel prize in literature”.


This is unconventional given the prestigious nature of the award. Despite the Nobel Academy Secretary’s several attempts to contact Dylan, her calls and emails were not received.

On this Wednesday evening (more than a month after the award win was announced) the Nobel Academy finally heard back from Dylan. He informed them that he had “other commitments” and would not be able to receive his prize or attend the ceremony in person.

While Dylan’s decision has certainly saddened and disappointed some, perhaps those who know the superstar better aren’t so surprised by his “unusual” behavior.


Nobel laureates are honored each year on 10th December, which is the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the man responsible for the prize. He was a Swedish inventor, philanthropist and industrialist.

The party to honor Dylan’s achievement will go on – without him. A spokesman from the Swedish Academy said: “We received a personal letter from Bob Dylan yesterday, where he explained that he could not make himself available in December.”

Apparently, he thanked the Academy for awarding him the prize, and for the invitation to the ceremony, however, he had other commitments that would make traveling to Sweden impossible.


The Internet is buzzing with speculation and opinion over the star’s “rude” and unconventional behavior — and also about his health. After all, what could be more important than receiving the Nobel prize? But while some fans are offended by his actions, diehard Dylan enthusiasts will forgive him.

It’s also of some comfort that the star finally made it publicly known that he feels “incredibly honored by the Nobel prize.”

Other Nobel literature prizewinners who failed to receive their prize in person include Doris Lessing, because of ill health, and Harold Pinter, who was hospitalized at the time.

Dylan doesn’t get off completely, however. He will still have to give a Nobel lecture, within six months of December 10, 2016, as this is one of the only requirements to receiving the prize. Although, judging by his recent actions, it’s unclear as to when (or whether) this lecture will be delivered.

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