The Swedish Academy won’t have to hang on to the Nobel Prize intended for its elusive winner for much longer.
Bob Dylan, who was awarded in literature last year, dodged phone calls from the academy for days before finally acknowledging the honor and eventually sending his regrets for not attending the official ceremony. He cited “preexisting commitments” to explain his absence.
But now the American plans to make a swing through Stockholm for some shows, so the academy will go to him. “The Swedish Academy is very much looking forward to the weekend and will show up at one of the performances,” the organization said in a statement Wednesday. “The good news is that the Swedish Academy and Bob Dylan have decided to meet this weekend. The Academy will then hand over Dylan’s Nobel diploma and the Nobel medal, and congratulate him on the Nobel Prize in Literature.”
The handover “will be small and intimate, and no media will be present; only Bob Dylan and members of the Academy will attend, all according to Dylan’s wishes.”
Lauerates also receive nearly $1 millon, so long as they deliver a lecture on literature within six months. Dylan won’t be delivering a lecture, the Swedish Academy announced, but the group “has reason to believe that a tape version will be sent at a later point.” Canadian writer Alice Munro, who won the prize in 2013, was the most recent laureate to deliver a taped lecture.
It took weeks before Dylan acknowledged the prize in October, prompting one academy member to describe the American singer as “impolite and arrogant.” By December, everyone was told Dylan wouldn’t show up to the ceremony, but some held out hope that maybe he’d surprise them all with an unannounced performance. No dice.
“I’m sorry I can’t be with you in person, but please know that I am most definitely with you in spirit and honored to be receiving such a prestigious prize,” Dylan had previously written in a note, read aloud during last year’s ceremony. “If someone had ever told me that I had the slightest chance of winning the Nobel Prize, I would have to think that I’d have about the same odds as standing on the moon.”
Others winners have also declined to show up to the official ceremony to receive the prize, including novelist Doris Lessing and playwright Elfriede Jelinek.
The last time an American received the Nobel Prize in literature was Toni Morrison in 1993. The academy made a bold choice in 2016 by selecting Dylan: He is the first laureate to receive the literature prize whose work has primarily been that of a musician.
“Bob Dylan writes poetry for the ear,” permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius, said in a televised interview shortly after the announcement. “But it’s perfectly fine to read his works as poetry.”