Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Bob Dylan finally breaks silence over Nobel Prize win - by saying he was left 'speechless'

Dylan had been criticised as ‘arrogant’ for not responding to his award

Saturday 29 October 2016 02:47 BST
Bob Dylan says being given the news about his Nobel Prize left him 'speechless'
Bob Dylan says being given the news about his Nobel Prize left him 'speechless' (Ki Price/Reuters)

Bob Dylan has said he was left “speechless” after learning he had become the first musician to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Dylan - in his first remarks about the award almost two weeks after being notified about his win - said he appreciated the accolade. However it is still unclear if he will be attending the ceremony to collect it.

The 75-year-old was controversially handed the prestigious prize earlier this month for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

The Swedish Academy said Dylan, who is due to show a collection of art in London in November, acknowledged the prize for the first time this week in a phone conversation.

They said he told Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy: “I appreciate the honour so much.”

And he said: “The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless”

Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize in literature: Some of his best lyrics

After failing to comment on the award immediately after it was announced, Dylan was called “impolite and arrogant” by an official from the Academy.

But in an interview with the Daily Telegraph he said he “absolutely” wants to attend December's Nobel Prize Award Ceremony “if it's at all possible”.

He told the newspaper being awarded the prize was “hard to believe”, adding it was “amazing, incredible.”

“Whoever dreams about something like that?”

Dylan became the first American to win the literature prize since Beloved author Toni Morrison in 1993.

The decision was not received well by everyone, with Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh labelling it an “ill conceived nostalgia award”.

The Scottish novelist and playwright tweeted: “I'm a Dylan fan, but this is an ill conceived nostalgia award wrenched from the rancid prostates of senile, gibbering hippies.”

Born Robert Zimmerman on May 24 1941, in the backwaters of Minnesota, he reinvented himself as folk singer songwriter Bob Dylan.

He famously sparked controversy by shifting to electric guitars in 1965 and was criticised by leading members of the folk movement for moving away from political songwriting.

In 2008, the singer-songwriter won the Pulitzer Prize for his contributions to music and American culture.

The six Nobel prizes will be handed out on 10 December.

Press Association contributed to this report

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in