Bob Dylan wins Nobel prize in Literature

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Singer and songwriter Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday. He is the first songwriter to win this prestigious award.

The announcement came as something of a surprise. Although Mr. Dylan, 75, has been mentioned often as having an outside shot at the prize, his work does not fit into the literary canons that the prize has traditionally recognized.

Some of his all-time popular numbers include ‘Tambourine Man’, ‘The Times They Are a-changin’, ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ and ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’. He has been regarded as the voice of a generation for his influential songs from the 1960s onwards. His songs, that covered the personal and the political, find their relevance even decades later.

“Dylan has the status of an icon. His influence on contemporary music is profound,” the Swedish Academy said on Thursday, when it awarded the Rs. 6 Crore prize.

Dylan, born on May 24, 1941, played in bands as a teenager, influenced by the folk musician Woody Guthrie, the authors of the Beat Generation and modernist poets. He moved to New York in 1961 and began to perform in clubs and cafes in Greenwich Village.

More than 53 years on, Dylan is still writing songs and is often on tour. “He is probably the greatest living poet,” Swedish Academy member Per Wastberg said.

Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Nobel Academy, told a news conference there was “great unity” in the panel’s decision to give Dylan the prize.