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In what has come as a surprise decision by the Nobel Academy, the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to iconic singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. His songs such as ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, ‘Masters of War’, ‘A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall’ and ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’ have captured a spirit of rebellion, dissent and independence. ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ and ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’ were regarded as anthems for the 1960s’ anti-war and civil rights movements.
Said to be the 259th American to have been awarded a Nobel prize, this is the second time in a row that the Nobel prize has not been awarded to a fiction author. Last year, Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich had been awarded the prize. 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. “If you look far back, 5000 years, you discover Homer and Sappho. They wrote poetic texts which were meant to be performed, and it’s the same way for Bob Dylan. We still read Homer and Sappho, and we enjoy it,” she added.
Well, not taking away from Homer or Sappho, there Other poets who have been awared a Nobel for literature include our very own Rabindranath Tagore in 1913, Vicente Aleixandre in 1977, Seamus Heaney won in 1995 and, more recently, Tomas Tranströmer won in 2011. Dylan is reportedly the first American to have won a Nobel since Toni Morrison in 1993.
As soon as the announcement was made, social media sites such as Twitter erupted with reactions. While most celebrated the ‘bold and different’ choice made by the Academy, there were others who were more than surprised on Dylan winning a literature award. Novelist Hari Kunzru tweeted, “This feels like the lamest Nobel win since they gave it to Obama for not being Bush”, while publisher Jason Pinter said, “If Bob Dylan can win the Nobel Prize for literature then I think @StephenKing should get elected to the Rock N’ Roll hall of fame.”
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Here’s a look at the divide in Twitterverse on Dylan winning the Nobel.
Bob Dylan!!!! What an inspired choice!!! Nobel for Literature – wow! Songs and songwriters finally get their due!
— Shobhaa De (@DeShobhaa) October 13, 2016
Nothing pleases me more than the Nobel for Lit going to Bob Dylan. Some of the world’s greatest songwriters have also been its finest poets.
— Pritish Nandy (@PritishNandy) October 13, 2016
Bob Dylan finally makes the Nobel Prize seem worthy and meaningful. Like a rolling stone, tombstone blues??…#NobelLiteraturePrize
— SUHEL SETH (@suhelseth) October 13, 2016
— Milind Deora (@milinddeora) October 13, 2016
— Siddharth (@Actor_Siddharth) October 13, 2016
Many congratulations to @bobdylan on the Nobel Prize for Literature!
— George Harrison (@GeorgeHarrison) October 13, 2016
Baby Boomers’ swan song, Donald Trump for President and a Nobel Prize for Bob Dylan.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) October 13, 2016
This feels like the lamest Nobel win since they gave it to Obama for not being Bush
— Hari Kunzru (@harikunzru) October 13, 2016
If Bob Dylan can win the Nobel Prize for literature then I think @StephenKing should get elected to the Rock N’ Roll hall of fame.
— Jason Pinter (@jasonpinter) October 13, 2016
Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize for literature is something they had to do if they hope to someday give one to Third Eye Blind’s Stephen Jenkins.
— Tim Duffy. (@TimDuffy) October 13, 2016
— Todd Pack (@toddpack) October 13, 2016
Bob Dylan got Nobel Prize in Literature
Maybe Chetan Bhagat can get a Nobel Prize in Cliterature
— The Bad Doctor (@DOCTORATLARGE) October 13, 2016
Then there were those who questioned the award itself (not that others haven’t been doing it for ages now).
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
Which side are you on? Tell us in the comments below.