Speaking to The Telegraph in his first interview since the Swedish Academy announced Dylan would be the recipient of their literature prize, the singer-songwriter added that he “absolutely” plans on attending the December 10th Nobel gala in Stockholm “if it’s at all possible.”
As for Dylan’s “impolite and arrogant” lack of response about the prize and the Swedish Academy’s fruitless efforts to get in touch with the singer since the award was announced, Dylan quipped simply, “Well, I’m right here.”
In a separate announcement Friday, the Nobel Foundation revealed that they did finally get in contact with Dylan about the prize. “The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless,” Dylan told the Swedish Academy. “I appreciate the honor so much.” Dylan added, “If I accept the prize? Of course.”
The Nobel Foundation reiterated that it “has not yet been decided” if Dylan would attend the ceremony.
When the Swedish Academy announced that Dylan would be the recipient of the literature prize, permanent secretary Sara Danius explained why the songwriter was given the distinction usually reserved for authors.
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“If you look back, far back, 2,500 years or so, you discover Homer and Sappho, and they wrote poetic texts that were meant to be listened to, they were meant to be performed, often together with instruments, and it’s the same way with Bob Dylan,” Danius said in early October. “But we still read Homer and Sappho… and we enjoy it, and same thing with Bob Dylan. He can be read, and should be read.”
Dylan responded to the comparison in the Telegraph interview. “I suppose so, in some way. Some [of my own] songs – ‘Blind Willie,’ ‘The Ballad of Hollis Brown,’ ‘Joey,’ ‘A Hard Rain,’ ‘Hurricane’ and some others – definitely are Homeric in value,” he said.
Dylan added of the honor, “It’s hard to believe,” and admitted he hasn’t thought much about whether he’s worthy of the Nobel Prize for Literature. “I’ll let other people decide what they are. The academics, they ought to know. I’m not really qualified,” Dylan said. “I don’t have any opinion.”
Bob Dylan is considering a box set from his controversial gospel years. Watch here.