Bob Dylan finally accepts Nobel Prize in literature

Almost six months after singer won Nobel Prize, Bob Dylan accepts awarded at ceremony attended by 12 members of Swedish Academy

2 April 2017, 10:42am
Almost six months after he became the first musician to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, Bob Dylan finally received the award, the Swedish Academy announced.

The academy, which awards the coveted prize, ended prolonged speculation as to whether the 75-year-old singer-songwriter would use a concept stopover in Stockholm to accept the gold medal and diploma awarded to him back in October.

They were handed to Dylan at a “private ceremony in Stockholm” attended by 12 academy members, Sara Danius, the academy’s permanent secretary, said in a blog post. “Spirits were high. Champagne was had,” she confided.

“Quite a bit of time was spent looking closely at the gold medal, in particular the beautifully crafted back, an image of a young man sitting under a laurel tree who listens to the Muse,” she added.

“Taken from Virgil’s Aeneid, the inscription reads: ‘Inventas vitam iuvat excoluisse per artes,’ loosely translated as ‘And they who bettered life on earth by their newly found mastery’.”

Klas Ostergren said "it went very well indeed", adding Dylan was "a very nice, kind man". He said the 75-year-old received the award during a small gathering on Saturday afternoon at a hotel, with just academy members and Dylan's staff present.

The first songwriter to receive the prestigious award, Dylan joins a celebrated group of laureates including Thomas Mann, Samuel Beckett, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Doris Lessing.

Dylan had not been expected to deliver his traditional Nobel lecture at the meeting – the only requirement to receive the eight million kronor (837,000 euros, $891,000) that comes with the prize.

He has until 10 June to provide his lecture, which could be anything from a short speech to a performance, a video broadcast or even a song. Failing that, he risks losing the prize money. “The Academy has reason to believe that a taped version will be sent at a later point,” Danius said on Wednesday.

Several Academy members, including Danius, were present at the concert as Dylan, wearing a white hat, western-style black blazer and cowboy boots, performed Love Sick and Full Moon And Empty Arms, part of a playlist of standards and self-penned hits.

His performance was met with a cheering crowd, which gave repeated standing ovations, especially when he played a harmonica. Dylan was tight-lipped between songs and made no mention whatsoever about the Nobel prize.

Dylan was honoured “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” the Nobel committee said when the award was announced last October.