Bob Dylan has today been awarded with the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The last time an American took the coveted honor was Toni Morrison in 1993. Dylan’s honor comes as somewhat of a surprise: typically, the Swedish Academy, who chooses the winner, goes with artists based in more traditional literary fields like novels, short stories, or poetry.
Sara Danius, the secretary of the Academy and 1 of 18 members, explained their reasoning being that Dylan is “a great poet in the English-speaking tradition.” She’s not wrong: Dylan has been on the American music scene since 1961, and has been traveling with his Never Ending Tour since 1988.
Music critic Bill Wyman wrote an essay arguing why Dylan should win the award in 2013. “Mr. Dylan’s work remains utterly lacking in conventionality, moral sleight of hand, pop pabulum or sops to his audience. His lyricism is exquisite; his concerns and subjects are demonstrably timeless; and few poets of any era have seen their work bear more influence,” he wrote. “If the academy doesn’t recognize Bob Dylan — a bard who embodied the most significant cultural upheaval of the second half of the last century — it will squander its best chance to honor a pop poet.“
Check out the announcement below: