Every year in the lead-up to the Nobel Prize announcements, a couple of names would circulate with particular feverishness for the prize in literature. Bob Dylan is among them, though many literati would laugh at the idea that a world-famous singer-songwriter would snag a prize typically awarded to novelists and poets.
Well, who’s laughing now?
When the Nobel Prize in Literature was announced on Thursday morning, the committee awarded it to Dylan, citing his creation of “new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” Book Twitter promptly had a complete meltdown.
Some, like Salman Rushdie and Lin Manuel Miranda, celebrated the Nobel’s stretching of literary boundaries to include music and lyrics:
Others weren’t quite so sure, poking fun at the Nobel for presenting perhaps the most prestigious literary prize in the world to a musician, rather than a dedicated writer. Some pointed out that, by recognizing Dylan, the Nobel missed an opportunity to elevate a gifted author less well-known than the world-famous rocker, including perhaps a woman or person of color.
Nothing better captured our feelings of utter bemusement and befuddlement over this unexpected swerve by the Nobel committee than the outpouring of snark and lighthearted ribbing on Twitter Thursday morning. Here are 27 tweets that captured the bizarro-world-ness of Dylan’s win:
I totally get the Nobel committee. Reading books is hard.— Gary Shteyngart (@Shteyngart) October 13, 2016
The Swedes are evil geniuses. Well Actually Twitter gonna be on and popping as soon as everyone finds their reading glasses.— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) October 13, 2016
Apparently, embarrassing dad who responds to your hip-hop records by telling you Dylan was the *real* poet runs the Nobel committee.— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) October 13, 2016
Bob Dylan wins the Nobel Prize for Literature? What's next, Derek Jeter wins a Tony for his rice pilaf???— rob delaney (@robdelaney) October 13, 2016
Is this the first time that a back catalogue of song lyrics has been judged eligible for a literary prize?— Joanne Harris (@Joannechocolat) October 13, 2016
Literally zero women were awarded Nobels this year. Maybe someone can write a poignant, gravelly, somewhat atonal folk song about that.— Chloe Angyal (@ChloeAngyal) October 13, 2016
All the runner ups get a musical greeting card that plays "It Ain't Me Babe."— Sloane Crosley (@askanyone) October 13, 2016
If they don't give the Nobel to Kendrick in 2030 there will be trouble— Hari Kunzru (@harikunzru) October 13, 2016
One day the recipient of the Nobel will be all 42 members of Broken Social Scene just you wait.— Kevin Nguyen (@knguyen) October 13, 2016
Lotta noise about Dylan but even you haters have to admit Sweet Child O' Mine is a great song.— Gabe Habash (@gabehabash) October 13, 2016
“Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the signs?” —Nobel prize winner Bob Dylan— Rusty Foster (@rustyk5) October 13, 2016
When Bob Dylan wins a Nobel and you think of the dude in your life and his deep affinity for Dylan and what I call peak white man music.— Shay Stewart Bouley (@blackgirlinmain) October 13, 2016
*throws bob dylan records out window of small yet functional tokyo apartment. opens small bottle of beer*— Murakami Protagonist (@Murakami_Tweets) October 13, 2016
it's fine. i'm fine.
You know what really needs to be celebrated more in our culture? Massively popular music!— Lich King 💀 Michel (@TheLincoln) October 13, 2016
me: BOB DYLAN WON THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE?!?— wikipedia brown (@eveewing) October 13, 2016
bae: wait like the musician? or is there another Bob Dylan who writes literature
THE SWEDISH ACADEMY WILL NOT STOP TROLLING PHILIP ROTH— Alex Shephard (@alex_shephard) October 13, 2016
I mean to be fair probably no one is more surprised than Bob Dylan.— Sara Nović (@NovicSara) October 13, 2016
Category Error! Category Error! Alert! Category Error! Alert! Category Error!— Jeff VanderMeer (@jeffvandermeer) October 13, 2016