Bob Dylan Will (Finally) Collect his Nobel Prize for Literature

But the songwriter won’t be delivering a Nobel Lecture at this time

Bob Dylan
John Cohen photographs a young Bob Dylan playing his guitar and harmonica in New York City in 1962. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

The ever-elusive Bob Dylan is slated collect his Nobel Prize for Literature—months after he became the first songwriter to receive the prestigious honor, and caused a hullabaloo by opting out of the prize-giving ceremony.  

As Hannah Ellis-Petersen reports for The Guardian, Dylan will meet with members of the Swedish Academy, which doles out the Nobel prizes, while making a scheduled tour stop in Sweden this weekend. “The Swedish Academy is very much looking forward to the weekend and will show up at one of the performances,” Sara Danius, permanent Secretary of the Academy, wrote in a post titled “Good News About Dylan.”

Danius goes on to say that no media will be present when Dylan receives his Nobel medal and diploma, per the songwriter’s wishes. At this time, Dylan will not deliver a lecture—something that he must do by June if he is to receive the 8 million Swedish Krona (roughly $900,000 USD) prize that is awarded to Nobel laureates, the BBC explains.

According to Darius, the Academy “has reason to believe” that Dylan will send a taped lecture at some point, as several other Nobel laureates have done. Author Alice Munro, for example, submitted a pre-recorded conversation in 2013.

When he was awarded the prize in October, Dylan greeted the news in signature Dylan fashion—with silence. The songwriter did not publicly acknowledge the honor for two weeks, Joe Coscarelli and Christopher D. Shea write in The New York Times, prompting one Academy member to call him “impolite and arrogant.”

Dylan also skipped the awards ceremony in December, citing “pre-existing commitments.” In his stead, Patti Smith performed “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” and Azita Raji, the American ambassador to Sweden, read an acceptance speech. Though Dylan had appeared somewhat apathetic about the award in the weeks leading up to the ceremony, his speech communicated a sense of surprise and gratitude.

“Being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature is something I never could have imagined or seen coming,” Dylan wrote. “From an early age, I've been familiar with and reading and absorbing the works of those who were deemed worthy of such a distinction: Kipling, Shaw, Thomas Mann, Pearl Buck, Albert Camus, Hemingway …That I now join the names on such a list is truly beyond words.”

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