Bob Dylan wins literature Nobel
US music legend Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on Thursday, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award in a decision that stunned prize watchers.
Dylan, 75, was honored “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”, the Swedish Academy said.
The choice was met by gasps and a long round of applause from journalists attending the prize announcement. The folk singer has been mentioned in Nobel speculation in past years, but was never seen as a serious contender.
The academy’s permanent secretary, Sara Danius, said Dylan’s songs were “poetry for the ears”.
“Dylan has the status of an icon. His influence on contemporary music is profound,” the academy wrote in biographical notes about the famously private singer.
Last year, the prize went to Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich for her documentary-style narratives based on witness testimonies.
Dylan will take home the 8 million krone ($971,000) prize.
The Nobel is the latest accolade for the singer, who has come a long way from his humble beginnings as Robert Allen Zimmerman, born in 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota, and who taught himself to play the harmonica, guitar and piano.
Captivated by the music of folk singer Woody Guthrie, Zimmerman changed his name to Bob Dylan — reportedly after the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas — and began performing in local nightclubs.
After dropping out of college, he moved to New York in 1960. His first album contained only two original songs, but the 1963 breakthrough The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan featured a slew of his own songs, including the classic Blowin’ in the Wind.
His influence on contemporary music is profound.” Citation from the Swedish Academy
Mandy Fallen of St. Cloud photographs a mural of Bob Dylan, the 2016 Nobel Prize winner in literature, in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Thursday. The mural was created by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra and his team.
Bob Dylan, US folk singer and songwriter