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Bob Dylan & the Nobel Prize in Literature

This guide was created to offer resources about the literary (or not) merits of Bob Dylan, inspired by the surrounding controversy of the Nobel Prize Committee to award Bob Dylan with the Nobel Prize in Literature this year.

The Nobel Prize in Literature goes to . . . BOB DYLAN? 

When the Swedish Academy announced Bob Dylan winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016, "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition," some people were shocked. Bob Dylan is a musician, not a writer. Or, is he?

This guide will explore the Nobel Prize for Literature itself and Bob Dylan within that context and provide resources to help with examining the issue.

Questions this guide and its resources will consider are:

Photo of Bob Dylan at Civil Rights March on Washington
    Are Bob Dylan's lyrics poetry? Do their political and social relevance provide merit in the literary world?

  • Is it "fair" to have a musician win this prize when musicians can be given awards by other organizations?

  • How might Bob Dylan's cultural influence, such as his performing at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (perhaps most famous for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech), have influenced the Swedish Academy? Are those worthy considerations?

  • What is the criteria for winning such an award and what other writers have won it in the past?

This guide will not answer these questions, but instead, give you the tools to make up your mind.  

And maybe, learn about Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize for Literature along the way!

Bob Dylan, performing at the Civil Rights March on Washington, August 28, 1963. Photograph by Rowland Scherman.

News Articles about Bob Dylan & the Award

More articles may be found on the Internet.  Keywords to try, separately or in combination:

Bob Dylan Nobel Prize
Bob Dylan Lyrics Literature
Bob Dylan Nobel Prize Writers (or Authors)
Bob Dylan Lyrics Poetry

In Google, unlike most of our databases, you may also try typing in a question, such as: Are Bob Dylan's Lyrics Poetry? Additionally, quotation marks will keep an exact phrase together (ex. "Bob Dylan" "Nobel Prize"); however, in this case, relevancy rankings will yield good results without using that search strategy.