In a shocking twist, this year’s Nobel Prize in literature wasn’t awarded to a novelist but to legendary musician Bob Dylan. He can add that to his Oscar, Golden Globe and 11 Grammys, among other awards.
Permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy Sara Danius made the announcement, and she clearly knew there may be some head-scratching, so she laid it on thick when it came to expressing Dylan’s literary achievements.
“If you look back, far back, you discover Homer and Sappho, and they wrote poetic texts that were meant to be listened to,” she said. “They were meant to be performed. It’s the same way with Bob Dylan. But we still read Homer and Sappho. He can be read and should be read.”
The reaction to the news has been a mixed bag. Dylan’s many fans are obviously over the moon, and enthusiasts have taken to tweeting out favorite lines. He even got a shout-out from Molly Ringwald.
But most of those weighing in have been writers, and their reactions show just how polarizing the news has been. Some think Dylan is a worthy recipient.
But there are also a lot of writers who aren’t pleased, and you can understand why. There aren’t that many high-profile awards for writing, and if musicians start scooping them up, what does that mean?
Few were predicting that Dylan would win the prize. Many more thought that this might be Philip Roth’s year — finally. Apparently not, and Twitter is having some fun with the snub.