Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize in Literature for creating “new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.
The iconic artist is awarded the prize for “re-inventing himself constantly” over a music career spanning 55 years.
Announcing the award from the Swedish Academy, Permanent Secretary Sara Danius said Dylan was a great poet in the English-speaking tradition.
“He is a wonderful sampler, a very original sampler,” she said. “He embodies the tradition and for 55 years now he has been at it, re-inventing himself constantly and creating a new identity.”
The legendary singer-songwriter has sold more than 110 million records and played thousands during his career.
The 75-year-old laureate, who began his career as the leading light of the early 1960s folk boom before embracing electric rock ‘n’ roll, grew up in Minnesota’s iron range.
He said: “I’ve been around iron all my life ever since I was a kid. I was born and raised in iron ore country – where you could breathe it and smell it every day. And I’ve always worked with it in one form or another.”
Memorable Dylan Lyrics
“How can the life of such a man, be in the palm of some fool’s hand? To see him obviously framed, couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed.”
:: How Does It Feel?
“You used to laugh about, everybody that was hanging out, now you don’t talk so loud, now you don’t seem so proud, about having to be scrounging for your next meal.”
:: Ain’t Talkin’
“Ain’t talkin’, just walkin’ up the road, around the bend. Heart burnin’, still yearnin’ in the last outback at the world’s end.”
He was lauded for his acoustic protest songs such as “Blowin’ In The Wind”. His first album was the eponymous “Bob Dylan” released in 1962.
The award was the last of this year’s Nobel Prizes to be announced, with all six awards to be given out on December 10th. Previous winners include author Doris Lessing in 2007 and playwright Harold Pinter in 2005.
Since 1901, the prize has been awarded every year to an author who has, in the words of Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, produced “in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”.