Dylan breaks silence on Nobel Prize win: 'It's amazing'

Bob Dylan, whose lyrics have influenced generations of fans, is the first songwriter to win the Nobel Prize in literature.
Bob Dylan, whose lyrics have influenced generations of fans, is the first songwriter to win the Nobel Prize in literature.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

STOCKHOLM • American singer- songwriter Bob Dylan has finally broken his silence on winning the Nobel Prize in literature, confirming - though vaguely - plans to pick up the award in Stockholm on Dec 10.

The Swedish Academy said yesterday that Dylan is not obliged to attend the award ceremony in Stockholm, but is required to hold some sort of lecture or even sing a song.

Dylan could provide anything like a short speech, a performance, a video broadcast - or even a song, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Dr Sara Danius, told the public Swedish Radio.

"I hope he will do what he desires to do," she said, adding that the academy will "do everything it can" to adapt the festivities to his wishes.

In an interview with Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper on Friday, Dylan described his reaction upon being told that he had won.

"Amazing, incredible. Whoever dreams about something like that?" he said.

Asked if he would attend the Nobel Prize winners' banquet, which is hosted by Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf, Dylan responded cryptically: "Absolutely. If it's at all possible."

The 75-year-old was named this year's laureate on Oct 13, but a prominent member of the Swedish Academy that awards the prize complained a week later that he had not responded to repeated phone calls.

The academy member, Swedish writer Per Wastberg, accused Dylan of being "impolite and arrogant", and said it was "unprecedented" that the academy did not know if Dylan intended to pick up his award.

But Dr Danius told TT news agency that Dylan was "humble, friendly and humorous" during a 15-minute phone conversation with her last Tuesday.

Asked why he did not respond to the academy's calls, Dylan told the Daily Telegraph: "Well, I'm right here."

Dylan, whose lyrics have influenced generations of fans, is the first songwriter to win the literature prize.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 30, 2016, with the headline 'Dylan breaks silence on Nobel Prize win: 'It's amazing''. Print Edition | Subscribe