Bob Dylan Will Skip The Nobel Ceremony, But He Did Write A Speech

So, in a way, he'll be there!
"The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," released by Columbia Records in 1963.
"The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," released by Columbia Records in 1963.
Blank Archives via Getty Images

After lightly scandalizing the highbrow literary world by RSVPing “no” to the awards ceremony and banquet where his Nobel Prize in Literature would be awarded, iconic singer-songwriter Bob Dylan told the Nobel Foundation that he wrote a “speech of thanks” that will be read at the event.

The first musician to be awarded the Nobel in Literature, Dylan was a long-standing figure in speculation about possible honorees but also a shocking choice for the prize. His selection was divisive, garnering both strong pushback from literary purists and exultation from fans and proponents of genre expansion.

In mid-November, he informed the Nobel Foundation that he would be unable to attend the ceremony and banquet due to “pre-existing commitments.”

The artist remained silent regarding his award for nearly two weeks after it was announced on Oct. 13, finally accepting the prize in a call to Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy. “The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless,” he said, according to a Nobel Foundation press release.

After he declined to attend the awards ceremony, the Swedish Academy released a statement noting that his absence would be “unusual, to be sure, but not exceptional,” and adding that they “look forward to Bob Dylan’s Nobel Lecture, which he must give ― it is the only requirement ― within six months counting from December 10, 2016.”

It is unclear whether Dylan’s “speech of thanks” is intended to fill this requirement or whether a more full address will be delivered in person at some point over the next six months.

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