American music icon Bob Dylan has been announced as the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. The award was announced on October 13 by the Swedish Academy, the Nobel committee which awards the literature prize. In a single-sentence press release issued this morning, the committee cited Dylan for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
Dylan is the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature since Toni Morrison in 1993. He is also the first winner of the prize to be awarded for their songwriting. Dylan has long been a popular choice for the Literature prize, but his actual candidacy has been downplayed and was considered highly unlikely. In 2015, The New Republic‘s Alex Shepard wrote “If Dylan does win, I will eat my copy of Blood on the Tracks.” Shepard responded to this morning’s announcement with a good-natured tweet.
In addition to the Nobel, Dylan has been the recipient of several major awards throughout his 55-year career, including 12 Grammys, an Academy award in 2000 for Best Original Song (“Things Have Changed” from Wonder Boys), induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and a special Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for “”his profound impact on popular music and American culture.”
Dylan has released 37 solo albums in his career. His most recent, Fallen Angels, a collection of traditional pop covers, was released in May.