Bob Dylan won’t be going to the Nobel Prize Ceremony, but the clock will still start to tick…
It was revealed on Wednesday that Bob Dylan won’t be going to Stockholm in December because “pre-existing commitments” prevent him from traveling.
I suppose given his consistent attitude towards media attention that doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, and other Nobel laureates have been unable to attend the ceremony in the past, including Harold Pinter and Doris Lessing. When that happens the prize is still awarded. The only requirement is that a Nobel Lecture is delivered within six months and the clock for Dylan starts on December 10th 2016. However, it seems that the lecture doesn’t have to be delivered in person or in Sweden. When Doris Lessing won – the oldest writer to be awarded the prize at the age of 88 – her Swedish publisher read out her lecture at a ceremony in the Swedish capital.
I hope that Dylan does fulfil his obligation. I was delighted when he won and, while I’m sure he doesn’t need the million dollar prize money ($923,179.20 to be exact) or the 18-karat gold medal, the award is an acknowledgement that literature doesn’t come in one-size-fits-all formats. And that all traditions were once new.
Only two winners have refused to accept the Nobel Prize for Literature: Boris Pasternak, in 1958 because of pressure from his country, the Soviet Union, and Jean Paul Sartre, in 1964 because throughout his life he refused all official honours and awards.