AMERICAN singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for having “created new poetic expressions” in more than half a decade of reinvention and incisive lyrics expressing the times.
The 75-year-old was rewardd for his work by the 18 strong Swedish Academy in Stockholm despite having been a 50/1 long shot at Ladbrokes when betting was suspended.
Permanent secretary of the Academy Sara Danius told press: “He’s a great poet in the English-speaking tradition. And he is a wonderful sampler, a very original sampler. He embodies the tradition and for 54 years now he has been at it, reinventing himself constantly, creating a new identity.”
“We still read Homer and Sappho, and we enjoy it. Same thing with Bob Dylan – he can be read and should be read,” she added, responding to some critics of the choice.
“As an artist, he is strikingly versatile; he has been active as painter, actor and scriptwriter,” read the official announcement. “Dylan has the status of an icon. His influence on contemporary music is profound, and he is the object of a steady stream of secondary literature.”
When the award was announced Dylan, who released his debut album in 1962 and remains a symbol of sixties culture, was unaware that he had won, becoming the first American in more than 20 years to win the coveted accolade.
Other contenders are believed to have included Kenyan Ngugi wa Thiong’o, American Don DeLillo and Japanese author Haruki Murakami.