Bob Dylan Won't Attend Nobel Ceremony to Accept Literature Prize

Singer-songwriter said he "wishes he could receive the prize personally, but other commitments make it unfortunately impossible"

Citing "other commitments," Bob Dylan says he won't be attending the Nobel ceremony in Stockholm to accept his literature prize.
Bob Dylan Won't Attend Nobel Ceremony to Accept Literature Prize

UPDATE 2: Bob Dylan did not attend President Obama’s meeting Wednesday with American Nobel Prize winners, per the Hill. "Unfortunately, Bob Dylan will not be at the White House today. So everyone can relax,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

UPDATE: The Swedish Academy issued a statement Friday after Bob Dylan decided to not attend the 2016 Nobel Prize ceremony. "The Swedish Academy has decided not to organize an alternative plan for the Nobel Lecture traditionally held on December 7th," organizers wrote. "There is a chance that Bob Dylan will be performing in Stockholm next year, possibly in the spring, in which case he will have a perfect opportunity to deliver his lecture. We will post more information as soon as we have it."

Bob Dylan will not attend the 2016 Nobel ceremony in Stockholm to accept his literature prize, The Associated Press reports. The Swedish Academy said Wednesday that the singer-songwriter informed them "he wishes he could receive the prize personally, but other commitments make it unfortunately impossible."

Permanent Secretary Sara Danius reportedly told Swedish news agency TT that the Academy received a personal letter from Dylan, who "underlined that he feels extremely honored" by the recognition.

The Academy acknowledged that it "respects" the musician's decision, calling the move "unusual, but not exceptional." (As the AP notes, Austrian playwright-novelist Elfriede Jelinek abstained from attending the ceremony in 2004 due to a social phobia.) It remains unclear who will accept the award on Dylan's behalf, though more information is expected by Friday.

"We are looking forward to Bob Dylan's Nobel lecture, which he must hold, according to the requirements, within six months [from December 10th]," the group added.

The Academy awarded the 75-year-old the literature prize on October 13th, citing his work with "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." Dylan became the first American recipient of the prize since Toni Morrison in 1993.

But the following days were filled with headline-grabbing drama, as the Academy was unable to get in touch with the singer. "Right now, we are doing nothing," Danius admitted, regarding the lack of communication. "I have called and sent emails to his closest collaborator and received very friendly replies. For now, that is certainly enough."

Writer Per Wästberg, a member of the Swedish Academy, called Dylan's silence "impolite and arrogant" in an interview with newspaper Dagens Nyheter, adding that the situation was "unprecedented." 

Later in the month, Dylan acknowledged the award in an interview with The Telegraph. "Amazing, incredible," he said. "Whoever dreams about something like that?" He also noted plans to attend the ceremony "if it's at all possible."

Bob Dylan is considering a box set from his controversial gospel years. Watch here.