Bob Dylan’s silence since being named a Nobel laureate has been described as “impolite and arrogant” by a member of the Swedish Academy. But the committee said it was up to the singer if he decided to accept.
The Swedish Academy, which selects Nobel Prize winners, has failed to contact 75-year-old singer-songwriter Bob Dylan since he became the first musician to win the literature prize in the Nobel’s 115-year history last week.
Dylan has been silent on the subject since he was awarded the honor for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” The award has been mentioned on Dylan’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, but a mention was removed from his website on Friday.
On Saturday, Swedish media reported comments by Nobel committee member Per Wastberg, who said that if Dylan remained silent, it would be “rude and arrogant.”
The academy issued a statement saying that Wastberg’s comments did not reflect their view. “The author awarded the Noble Prize makes up his or her own mind regarding the ceremonies involved in the presentation of the prize,” said Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the academy.
The choice of Dylan has been controversial, with some commentators questioning whether the singer’s work qualifies as literature and others suggesting the academy missed an opportunity to bring attention to lesser-known artists.
First to ignore
If Dylan continues in silence, he would be the first award winner to ignore the academy’s decision. Only two people have declined a Nobel Prize in literature.
Boris Pasternak did so under pressure from Soviet authorities in 1958, while French writer Jean-Paul Sartre refused it in 1964.
Harold Pinter and Alice Munro missed their respective ceremonies in 2005 and 2013 for health reasons.
Each Nobel Prize is worth 8 million Swedish kronor ($930,000/825,000 euros).
The literature prize and five other Nobel honors will be officially conferred in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of award founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.