In October, it was announced that Bob Dylan would be receiving the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition". The secretary of the association, Sara Danius, that declares the winners of each category, said it was an easy choice when picking Dylan, and compared his song lyrics to the work of Homer, a writer from Ancient Greece whose work is still read today. He's also focused on oral traditions, which can be seen in many of his songs. The association looked at him more as a poet than a songwriter when making this decision. A professor at Oxford University even compared Dylan's song lyrics to poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson. However, the popular singer of songs like "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Tangled up in Blue" did not immediately accept the honor. It took Dylan two weeks to even acknowledge his momentous accomplishment of being the first singer recognized for his work.
Dylan claimed in an interview that he would attend the ceremony, which take place on December 10th in Sweden, if he was able to. However, Dylan recently sent a letter to the Swedish Academy explaining that he will not be able to attend the ceremony due to pre-existing plans. Despite not being there to accept, he can still be considered a Nobel Prize winner as long as he gives a Nobel Lecture within the next six months. Bob Dylan is the first American to win the Nobel Prize in literature since 1993 when American author, Toni Morrison, won. This shows the importance of the affect that Dylan's work has with the world.
In Alfred Nobel's will, the man who set up the award in the 1900's, it is said that the person receiving the award should be "the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”. Many are upset with Dylan's win, as they do not consider song lyrics to be in the same standing as the type of literature that has won in the past.