Dylan, 75, received the prize today (October 13) "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." And not only is Dylan the first songwriter to win the award, he is the first American to clinch the prize since novelist Toni Morrison in 1993.
Speaking to reporters after announcing Dylan as the winner, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy Sara Danius said, "The times they are a'changing, perhaps.
"Of course he [deserves] it — he's just got it. He's a great poet in the English-speaking tradition. And he is a wonderful sampler, a very original sampler. He embodies the tradition and for 54 years now he has been at it, reinventing himself constantly, creating a new identity."
Danius also said that while the choice may be surprising, "If you look far back... you discover Homer and Sappho. They wrote poetic texts that were meant to be listened to, performed, often together with instruments, and it's the same way for Bob Dylan. We still read Homer and Sappho, and we enjoy it. Same thing with Bob Dylan — he can be read and should be read. And he is a great poet in the grand English tradition."
In related news, Dylan will also celebrate the release of the new live package The 1966 Live Recordings on November 11, as well as The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert on November 25.
You can read a few reactionary tweets from some of Dylan's peers, as well as Obama, below. Bruce Springseen also penned the following tribute to Dylan:
Bob Dylan is the father of my country. Highway 61 Revisited and Bringing It All Back Home were not only great records, but they were the first time I can remember being exposed to a truthful vision of the place I lived. The darkness and light were all there, the veil of illusion and deception ripped aside. He put his boot on the stultifying politeness and daily routine that covered corruption and decay. The world he described was all on view, in my little town, and spread out over the television that beamed into our isolated homes, but it went uncommented on and silently tolerated. He inspired me and gave me hope. He asked the questions everyone else was too frightened to ask, especially to a fifteen-year-old: 'How does it feel… to be on your own?' A seismic gap had opened up between generations and you suddenly felt orphaned, abandoned amid the flow of history, your compass spinning, internally homeless. Bob pointed true north and served as a beacon to assist you in making your way through the new wilderness America had become. He planted a flag, wrote the songs, sang the words that were essential to the times, to the emotional and spiritual survival of so many young Americans at that moment.
I had the opportunity to sing 'The Times They Are A-Changin' ' for Bob when he received the Kennedy Center Honors. We were alone together for a brief moment walking down a back stairwell when he thanked me for being there and said, 'If there's anything I can ever do for you…' I thought, 'Are you kidding me?' and answered, 'It's already been done.'
From Orpheus to Faiz,song & poetry have been closely linked. Dylan is the brilliant inheritor of the bardic tradition.Great choice. #Nobel— Salman Rushdie (@SalmanRushdie) October 13, 2016
I'm a Dylan fan, but this is an ill conceived nostalgia award wrenched from the rancid prostates of senile, gibbering hippies.— Irvine Welsh (@IrvineWelsh) October 13, 2016
Congratulations to one of my favorite poets, Bob Dylan, on a well-deserved Nobel. https://t.co/c9cnANWPCS— President Obama (@POTUS) October 13, 2016