Dylan the Enigmatic accepts 2016 Nobel prize at last

 02 Apr 2017 - 10:00

Dylan the Enigmatic accepts 2016 Nobel prize at last
A person supposedly being the US artist Bob Dylan wearing a black jacket and a hoodie is photographed while entering the backstage door at Stockholm Waterfront April 1, 2017, where Bob Dylan is preforming the same night. There is no certain confirmation yet if this is in fact Bob Dylan pictured. Dylan is in Sweden to perform but also to receive his Nobel diploma and the Nobel medal during his visit to Sweden. - Sweden OUT / AFP / TT News Agency / Jessica GOW

AFP

Stockholm: After months of uncertainty and controversy, Bob Dylan finally accepted the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature at a secret meeting on Saturday with the Swedish Academy, local media reported. 

Asked by Swedish public broadcaster SVT if Dylan had received his Nobel diploma and medal on Saturday afternoon, Academy member Horace Engdahl said: "Yes", without making any further comments.

The Swedish Academy, which awards the prize, had been tight-lipped about the prospective meeting and declined to comment on the report. 

The first songwriter to receive the prestigious award, Dylan joins a celebrated group of laureates including Thomas Mann, Samuel Beckett, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Doris Lessing.

The meeting took place at a secret location ahead of Dylan's first concert in Stockholm, the first stop on a long-planned European tour for his latest album of cover songs, "Triplicate". His second concert is on due Sunday.

Dylan, 75, had not been expected to deliver his traditional Nobel lecture at the meeting -- the only requirement to receive the eight million kronor (837,000 euros, $891,000) that comes with the prize.

He has until June 10 to provide his lecture, which could be anything from a short speech to a performance, a video broadcast or even a song. Failing that, he risks losing the prize money.

"The Academy has reason to believe that a taped version will be sent at a later point," Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Academy, said on Wednesday.

No thank you

Several Academy members, including Danius, were present at the concert as Dylan, wearing a white hat, western-style black blazer and cowboy boots, performed "Love Sick" and "Full Moon And Empty Arms," part of a playlist of standards and self-penned hits.

The American rock enigma's performance was met with a cheering crowd, which gave repeated standing ovations, especially when he played a harmonica. 

Dylan was tightlipped between songs and made no mention whatsoever about the Nobel prize. 

Lars Sjoblom, a 65-year-old sound and light technician, said he had grown up with Dylan's music but was "greatly surprised" that he had not said anything. 

"I came here to listen to what he had to say about the Nobel Foundation and to the Swedish people," Sjoblom told AFP. "I think he could have shown Sweden the respect to say 'thank you'."

But Dag Hanners, a 65-year-old logistician, said Dylan never speaks with the crowd during performances. 

"You just have to live with that," he said with a chuckle. 

'Senile hippies'

Dylan was honoured "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition," the Nobel committee said when the award was announced last October.

His long list of hits, ranging over decades, began in the early Sixties. He penned hundreds of songs in just a few years -- an astonishing flurry that included "Blowin' In The Wind", "Hurricane" and "Mr. Tambourine Man."

"Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, 'Are my songs literature?'" Dylan said in a thank-you speech read out by the US ambassador to Sweden during the December Nobel ceremony in Stockholm. He skipped the event due to "pre-existing commitments".

Danius, a fervent Dylan fan, has defended her choice and that of her peers, but Scottish writer Irvine Welsh, author of "Trainspotting", mocked the prize as "awarded by senile hippies".

Dylan kept silent for weeks after he was announced as the winner and when he was asked at the time why he did not respond to the Academy's calls, he told Britain's Daily Telegraph: "Well, I'm right here."

His mysterious reaction even provoked Academy member Per Wastberg to call him "impolite" and "arrogant".

Dylan later apologised for not being able to attend the ceremony and expressed surprise over being chosen for an honour given to literature heavyweights like Ernest Hemingway and Albert Camus.

"If someone had ever told me that I had the slightest chance of winning the Nobel Prize, I would have to think that I'd have about the same odds as standing on the moon," he added.