What if Bob Dylan won a Nobel and he didn’t care?

There’s no chance winning the Nobel Prize for literature is going to change Bob Dylan.

At his concert the night it was announced he’d won the award that sparked an international debate over whether he deserved it, Dylan sang Frank Sinatra’s Why Try to Change Me Now.

The Guardian reports that Dylan isn’t returning calls from the Swedish Academy.

“Right now we are doing nothing. I have called and sent emails to his closest collaborator and received very friendly replies. For now, that is certainly enough,” the academy’s permanent secretary, Sara Danius, told state radio SR on Monday.

Danius thinks he’ll show up. If he doesn’t, she says it’ll be a nice party anyway.

The debate over Dylan’s selection as the award recipient apparently isn’t letting up in the rarefied air of literature.

Who wouldn’t want to party with this crowd?

The French Moroccan writer Pierre Assouline was even more irate, describing the decision “contemptuous of writers”.

Other authors were more ambivalent. On Monday, Karl Ove Knausgaard told the Guardian: “I’m very divided. I love that the novel committee opens up for other kinds of literature – lyrics and so on. I think that’s brilliant. But knowing that Dylan is the same generation as Pynchon, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, makes it very difficult for me to accept it. I think one of those three should have had it, really. But if they get it next year, it will be fine.”

Dylan’s songwriting peer and friend Leonard Cohen suggested on Thursday that no prizes were necessary to recognise the greatness of the man who transformed pop music with records like Highway 61 Revisited. “To me,” he said, “[the Nobel] is like pinning a medal on Mount Everest for being the highest mountain.”

  • Jack

    “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” – Bob Dylan

    My thoughts exactly – just change the references to the feminine. 🙂 Or better yet, to non gender specific so that it applies to everyone.

    • BJ

      take off the ‘a’ at the beginning.

      • Rob

        Sorry, still sounds non-inclusive, what with the “he” and all.

  • Gary F

    Remember folks, the whole Nobel thing has lost its luster, at least the Peace Prize has, with their choices. Not sure of the literature prize.

    We had fun last night trying to figure out what Dylan’s voice mail sounds like. 1. I presume you’d know it was him. 2. Could you understand his message. We had a blast with it .

    • ec99

      In 1922, mediocre Spanish playwright Jacinto Benavente won the Nobel “for the happy manner in which he has continued the illustrious traditions of the Spanish drama”. Ignored was the great novelist, poet, and philosopher Miguel de Unamuno. The Spanish intellectual community rose up in protest. May be one of the first instances of the lit committee screwing up.

  • rosswilliams

    If there is one thing Hibbing taught Bob Dylan its that he was going to have to recognize for himself his own genius. That is what he has always done and its not likely to change at 75. I’m not sure how much he cares whether his lyrics are recognized as great poetry, what he values for himself is being a musician and performer.

  • BJ

    >Pynchon, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy


    Ok… I know OF Cormac McCarthy, never read any of his stuff, not even seen any of the movies based on his stuff. The other 3, not even the slightest of clues.

    • Kassie

      Some of Cormac McCarthy’s stuff is tedious, but for the most part, the has really great books. That said, Dylan is a genius, McCarthy is a great writer. They aren’t of the same caliber, IMHO.

    • Joe

      Really? I find that almost hard to believe. I agree that Pynchon or Roth would have been better recipients. But oh well, I like Dylan too.

  • Rob

    If Zimmie does attend, it would be totally apropos for him to sing something from his fabulous Christmas album as he steps up to receive the award, given that the event takes place during the holiday season. “Here Comes Santa Claus,” perhaps?