Bob Dylan will not travel to Stockholm to pick up his 2016 Nobel Prize for literature on December 10, the Swedish Academy has revealed.
The Academy says Dylan told them that ‘he wishes he could receive the prize personally, but other commitments make it, unfortunately, impossible’.
Dylan’s website lists tour dates through November, but none in December, so the reason for the scheduling conflict remains a mystery.
The 75-year-old American singer-songwriter was awarded the prize on October 13 ‘for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.’
The Swedish Academy announced on Wednesday that Bob Dylan would not be attending their December 10 award ceremony
The literature prize and five other Nobel Prizes will be officially conferred upon winners in Stockholm next month on the anniversary of award founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.
The Academy said it ‘respects Bon Dylan’s decision,’ adding it was an ‘unusual, but not exceptional’ decision.
Literature laureates have skipped the ceremony before. In 2004, Austrian playwright and novelist Elfriede Jelinek stayed home, citing a social phobia.
‘The award is still theirs, as it now belongs to Bob Dylan,’ the Academy said. ‘We are looking forward to Bob Dylan’s Nobel lecture, which he must hold, according to the requirements, within six months’ from December 10.’
Dylan caused some controversy when he took two weeks to officially respond to the honour, prompting members of the Academy to call him ‘impolite and arrogant.’
In a bizarre move, his website was updated to acknowledge the win in a description of his book, The Lyrics: 1961-2012, for which he won the prize. But the acknowledgement was taken down the very next day.
He finally officially acknowledged the award on October 28, issuing a statement through the Nobel Foundation.
‘The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless. I appreciate the honour so much,’ Dylan said in the statement.
And in a subsequent interview with the Telegraph, Dylan called it an ‘amazing’ honour to become a Nobel Laureate.
He added: ‘It’s hard to believe…Whoever dreams of something like that?’
However, he didn’t specify at the time whether he would make it to the ceremony or not.