The Swedish Academy, the body that awards Nobel Prizes every year, announced today that Bob Dylan will not be accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature in person at the awards ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10.
In a press release titled “Bob Dylan has decided not to come to Stockholm,” the Academy said that Dylan had written them a letter (because of course he did), “in which he explained that due to pre-existing commitments, he is unable to travel to Stockholm in December and therefore will not attend the Nobel Prize Ceremony.”
Since it took Dylan nearly two weeks to even publicly acknowledge and accept the award, many initially speculated that he didn’t want it or even accused him of being ungrateful, but the Academy’s press release stressed that Dylan “underscored, once again, that he feels very honored indeed, wishing that he could receive the prize in person.”
The press release also acknowledges that Dylan isn’t the first person to not attend the ceremony. According to the Academy, “several laureates have, for various reasons, been unable to come to Stockholm to receive the prize, among them Doris Lessing, Harold Pinter, and Elfriede Jelinek.”
But in a statement that almost sounds like it’s directed more at Dylan than the reader, the Academy said, “We look forward to Bob Dylan’s Nobel Lecture, which he must give—it is the only requirement—within six months counting from Dec. 10, 2016.”
Dylan has always been a notoriously private person, so it’s not that big of a surprise that he opted not to attend the ceremony, even if it is probably the most prestigious award any writer could hope to win. Throughout the 1960s, he lied about his past to the press; his second marriage wasn’t public knowledge until after it was already over; many speculate that much of his autobiography Chronicles Vol. 1 is fabricated; and he doesn’t hang out with people even if he’s on a six-week tour with them. Honestly, the only way Dylan could make this more Dylanesque is if he showed up unannounced anyway.
The Academy’s press release concludes by saying that more information will be released on Friday, Nov. 18. So we have that and Dylan’s Nobel Lecture to look forward to.