Bob Dylan acknowledges Nobel Prize, says selection left him ‘speechless’

Marcy Oster

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan onstage during the 17th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards at The Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, California, on Jan. 12, 2012. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1)

(JTA) — Bob Dylan has acknowledged his receipt of the Nobel Prize for Literature, saying his selection has left him “speechless.”

“The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless”, he told Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, according to a statement on the Nobel Prize’s website. “I appreciate the honor so much.”

Dylan contacted the Swedish Academy himself last week and said he would accept the prize, Danius told Sweden’s TT news agency.

Danius also told Swedish Radio that Dylan is not obliged to attend the prize ceremony, but is required to deliver a lecture or perform a song.

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Dylan’s prize was announced on October 13, “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” The Swedish Academy later said that after five days of trying to contact Dylan to personally inform him of the award it had given up.

Dylan told the London-based The Telegraph in an interview posted on its website Friday that, “if it’s at all possible,” he wants to attend the December 10 prize ceremony in Stockholm. The Swedish Academy website said it had not yet been decided whether Dylan will attend any events during the Nobel Week in Stockholm ahead of the prize awards ceremony, where Dylan is to receive the $927,740 prize.

He told The Telegraph that receiving the Prize “is hard to believe.”

Born Robert Allen Zimmerman and raised Jewish in Minnesota, Dylan wrote some of the most influential and well-known songs of the 1960s. His hits include “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Times They Are a-Changin’.”

Dylan, 75, is the first artist seen primarily as a songwriter to win the award, a fact that has stirred a divisive debate in literary circles. Some writers, such as the poets Amy King and Danniel Schoonebeek, have called for him to turn down the award.