American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature, for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
The 75-year-old becomes the 259th American to have won a Nobel Prize. The award is given to an individual who has produced “in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”.
Sara Danils, Secretary of the Swedish Academy, described Dylan as “a great sampler… and for 54 years he has been at it, reinventing himself.”
On his classic Blonde On Blonde, she said: “An extraordinary example of his brilliant way of rhyming, putting together refrains, and his brilliant way of thinking.
“If you look far back, 5000 years, you discover Homer and Sappho. They wrote poetic texts which were meant to be performed, and it’s the same way for Bob Dylan. We still read Homer and Sappho, and we enjoy it.”
Previous winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature include Albert Camus, Ernest Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre, Gabriel García Márquez and José Saramago.
Last year’s award was given to Belarusian investigative journalist Svetlana Alexievich.
US President Barack Obama presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. Back then, Obama said, “I remember, you know, in college, listening to Bob Dylan and my world opening up, ’cause he captured something about this country that was so vital.”