The Swedish Academy says Dylan is not coming to Stockholm to pick up his 2016 Nobel Prize for literature at the Dec. 10 prize ceremony, on the anniversary of award founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.
The Academy says Dylan told them that “he wishes he could receive the prize personally, but other commitments make it unfortunately impossible.”
It took Dylan and his team several weeks to get in touch with the Nobel committee, causing a member of the Academy to describe Dylan as “impolite and arrogant.”
The 75-year-old American singer-songwriter was awarded the prize on Oct. 13 “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
During the initial announcement, he was playing a show in Las Vegas but didn’t mention the award. Dylan is the first musician ever to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and is currently on tour until Nov. 23.
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The Academy said it “respects Bon Dylan’s decision,” adding it was not travelling to the Swedish capital to personally pick up the prestigious award was “unusual, but not exceptional.”
Literature laureates have skipped the ceremony before. In 2004, Austrian playwright and novelist Elfriede Jelinek stayed home, citing a social phobia.
“The award is still theirs, as it now belongs to Bob Dylan,” the Academy said. “We are looking forward to Bob Dylan’s Nobel lecture, which he must hold, according to the requirements, within six months” from Dec. 10.
With files from The Associated Press and Rebecca Joseph