With these words – “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition” the Swedish Nobel prize Academy awarded Bob Dylan a Nobel prize in literature. This is the first time in history of the Swedish Academy that a songwriter and singer has been accorded such an honor.
“He is the first American to win the prize since the novelist Toni Morrison, in 1993. The announcement, in Stockholm, was a surprise: Although Mr. Dylan, 75, has been mentioned often as having an outside shot at the prize, his work does not fit into the literary canons of novels, poetry and short stories that the prize has traditionally recognized,” reported by New York Times.
“Mr. Dylan was born on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minn., and grew up in Hibbing. He played in bands as a teenager, influenced by the folk musician Woody Guthrie, the authors of the Beat Generation and modernist poets. Mr. Dylan, whose original name is Robert Allen Zimmerman, identifies as Christian and has released several albums of religiously inspired songs, but he was born into a Jewish family.”
Is this an open door for musicians to compete for Nobel prize in literature with conventional writers?
Yes, there is no doubt that many great song writers and musicians will be looking forward for recognition from the Swedish Academy. This is a major move by Nobel Academy with the inclusion of musicians for Nobel prize in literature. And Nobel Academy deserves some commendations for the bold move. Nigerian famous musicians like Fela, Mike Ejeagha, Celestine Ukwu, Osadebe and many others are in same poetic rankings like Bob Dylan. The Great Wole Soyinka is the first and only Nigerian to win Nobel prize in literature.