Bob Dylan has finally broken his silence on winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. In an interview with London’s Telegraph to talk about an exhibition of his paintings, he described receiving the award as “amazing. Whoever dreams of something like that?” He has also said he plans to attend the ceremony to receive the award, saying he will “absolutely” go, “if it’s at all possible”.
The Swedish Academy confirmed on Friday that Dylan had contacted them to accept the award. “The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless,” he told Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy. “I appreciate the honour so much.”
The interview with the Telegraph was the first time Dylan had spoken publicly about winning the $1.2 million prize since the announcement was made by the Academy on October 13. The singer-songwriter had acknowledged the award on his official web site five days later, but 24 hours after that, the words “winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature” were removed from an entry about a book of his lyrics.
As Dylan’s silence on the subject continued and attempts to contact him proved fruitless, one member of the Swedish Academy labelled the singer disrespectful.
“One can say that it is impolite and arrogant,” the Academy’s Per Wastberg told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. Although he added it was not entirely unexpected. “He is who he is.”
Wastberg said that the Academy had agreed to stop trying to contact Dylan and wait for the singer’s next move.
Dylan is the first musician to the win in the prize’s 115-year history. Wastberg had described him as “probably the greatest living poet” but the decision was not without controversy, with authors and musicians alike polarised by the decision. “I totally get the committee,” tweeted author Gary Shteyngart, “Reading books is hard.” Fellow musician Leonard Cohen said that giving the award to Dylan was like “pinning a medal on Mount Everest for being the highest mountain”.
Recipients of the prize traditionally attend a banquet held on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death, unless prevented by ill-health. They receive the prize from Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and are expected to give a speech.