The Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded on Thursday to singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, the first American to win the prize in more than two decades since Toni Morrison won in 1993 — and the surprise culmination of years of far-out betting speculation.
The Swedish Academy commended Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” while secretary Sara Danils later added, for those expressing surprise at their choice, that “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.”
Simon & Schuster, Dylan’s longtime publisher, was set to release the updated and revised version of Dylan’s The Lyrics: 1961-2012 — now priced at $60, after the first version was released as a limited edition in 2014 priced at $299 — on November 8, but spokesperson Adam Rothberg tells us “we will be accelerating publication” with a new release date still to be determined. And S&S publisher Jonathan Karp said in a statement: “We congratulate Bob Dylan on this extraordinary honor. For decades, he has fused poetry and music with groundbreaking artistry.”
Dylan’s win was announced hours after 1997 Literature Prize winner Dario Fo, 90, died in Milan.