It was announced on Oct. 13 that Bob Dylan was to become the latest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Now, just over a month later, we’ve learned the singer will not be present to accept his prize in person at next month’s event.
The Swedish Academy stated in a press release that it had received a letter from Dylan, in which he expressed that “pre-existing commitments” will not allow him to travel to Stockholm for the Nobel Prize Ceremony on Dec. 10. Dylan reportedly went on to say he’s “honored” as the Prize’s recipient and that he wishes he could receive it in person. The Academy elaborated on the situation a bit further.
“That laureates decide not to come is unusual, to be sure, but not exceptional. In the recent past, several laureates have, for various reasons, been unable to come to Stockholm to receive the prize, among them Doris Lessing, Harold Pinter, and Elfriede Jelinek. The prize still belongs to them, just as it belongs to Bob Dylan.”
Jelinek, the above-mentioned playwright and novelist, declined attending the prize ceremony in 2004 due to a social phobia. Lessing could not attend due to ill health and Pinter’s absence was as a result of his being treated in hospital.
Dylan was awarded the literature prize on Oct. 13 for having “created new poetic expressions within the American song tradition.” After weeks of relative silence from the 2016 prize recipient, The Swedish Academy announced they had received a phone call from him, on which he said “the news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless.” “The Times They Are A-Changin” singer later commented, calling his recent honors “hard to believe, amazing and incredible.”
While Dylan will not be in attendance at the ceremony, he is expected to deliver a Nobel Lecture — the Academy’s only official requirement of a recipient — within six months from the Dec. 10 date.