Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Bob Dylan will not attend ceremony to receive Nobel Prize

Bob Dylan performs at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, N.Y., Sept. 4, 2012.

THE NEW YORK TIMES/NYT

Bob Dylan won't be coming to Stockholm to pick up his 2016 Nobel Prize for literature at the Dec. 10 prize ceremony.

The Swedish Academy said Wednesday that Dylan told them "he wishes he could receive the prize personally, but other commitments make it unfortunately impossible."

The 75-year-old American singer-songwriter was awarded the prize on Oct. 13 "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

Story continues below advertisement

Related: 'Greatest living poet' Bob Dylan wins Nobel literature prize

Read more: Long before his Nobel, the real Bob Dylan met the masses in Canada in 1964

The literature prize and five other Nobel Prizes will be officially conferred upon winners in Stockholm next month on the anniversary of award founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.

Details about who would accept the award on Dylan's behalf were unclear — more information on that was expected Friday.

Permanent Secretary Sara Danius told Swedish news agency TT the academy received "a personal letter" from Dylan and that he "underlined that he feels extremely honoured by the Nobel Prize."

The Academy said it "respects Bob Dylan's decision," adding that not travelling to the Swedish capital to personally pick up the prestigious award was "unusual, but not exceptional."

In 2004, Austrian playwright and novelist Elfriede Jelinek stayed home, citing a social phobia.

Story continues below advertisement

"The award is still theirs, as it now belongs to Bob Dylan," the Academy said. "We are looking forward to Bob Dylan's Nobel lecture, which he must hold, according to the requirements, within six months" from Dec. 10.

Dylan at first was silent after the Nobel announcement but eventually said getting the award left him "speechless."

Dylan has accepted numerous awards over the years, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which he picked up at a White House ceremony in 2012. A year later, he became the first rock star voted into the elite American Academy of Arts and Letters, which made him an honorary member.

In 2000, Dylan travelled to Stockholm to collect the Polar Music Prize from Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Report an error
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.