Bob Dylan's Nobel speech to be read at ceremonies

NEW YORK • Nobel literature laureate Bob Dylan, who last month said he would not attend the prize ceremonies in Stockholm because of "pre-existing commitments", has written a speech that will be read on his behalf, the organisation behind the awards said on Monday.

In a Twitter post, the Swedish Academy also said that musician Patti Smith will perform one of Dylan's songs, A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall, as a tribute. Smith, 69, who in 2010 won a National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids, has been an occasional collaborator of Dylan's, and has called herself a longtime fan.

Neither the organisation nor Dylan has announced who would be reading his speech at the banquet, which will be held after the ceremony on Saturday.

In October, Dylan, 75, was named the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition". His win divided many in the literary and music worlds, with some questioning whether a musician should receive one of literature's highest honours.

For his part, he remained silent for two weeks after the announcement. The academy said it was having difficulty reaching him, leading one member of the prize committee to call his silence "impolite and arrogant".

Dylan finally responded in an interview with The Telegraph, posted on Oct 29, in which he said he would "absolutely" attend the ceremony "if it's at all possible". It was the first interview in almost two years for the notoriously private musician. On Nov 16, the academy announced that Dylan would not be attending the ceremony.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2016, with the headline 'Bob Dylan's Nobel speech to be read at ceremonies'. Print Edition | Subscribe