Slow Train Coming: Dylan in Stockholm to accept Nobel

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Slow Train Coming: Dylan in Stockholm to accept Nobel

Stockholm, Apr 1 (AFP) After months of controversy, Bob Dylan was due in Stockholm today to finally grab his Nobel literature prize in a meeting with the Swedish Academy, which honoured him for his poetry.

The first songwriter to receive the prestigious award, Dylan has joined the league of Nobel laureates including Thomas Mann, Samuel Beckett, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Doris Lessing.

At a secret time and place, the famously reclusive Dylan is to receive his Nobel diploma and medal in a closed meeting at the weekend with members of the Swedish Academy, which elects the winners of the literature prize.

“The setting will be small and intimate, and no media will be present; only Bob Dylan and members of the Academy will attend, all according to Dylan’s wishes,” Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Academy said in a blog post yesterday.

Mikael Timm, a culture reporter at the public Swedish Radio, thinks Dylan wants the meeting to be strictly private to avoid a situation that could spiral out of his control, especially after a series of “humiliating press conferences” in the 1960s.

“He obviously wants to communicate but realised he doesn’t need to be exposed to aggressive and offensive press conferences,” Timm told AFP.

Dylan is set to perform concerts on Saturday and Sunday in Stockholm, the first stop on a long-planned European tour for his latest album of cover songs “Triplicate”.

It is unclear if the meeting will take place before or after the two shows as the Academy has been tight-lipped.

But Ake Jonsson, a loyal fan who’s seen Dylan perform 75 times, hopes the enigmatic music icon will at least mention the Nobel during his concert on Saturday.

“It would be interesting if he talked about the Nobel prize. He’s barely said (anything) during concerts these past years,” Jonsson told Swedish public broadcaster SVT.

The 75-year-old Dylan will not give his traditional Nobel lecture during the meeting, the only requirement to receive the eight million kronor (837,000 euros, $891,000) that comes with the prize.

He has until June 10 to deliver his lecture, which could be anything from a short speech to a performance, a video broadcast or even a song.

Failing that, he risks losing the prize money.

“The Academy has reason to believe that a taped version will be sent at a later point,” Danius said on Wednesday, without specifying an exact date.

The songwriter of “Blowin’ In The Wind”, “Hurricane” and “Mr Tambourine Man” was honoured “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” the Nobel committee said when the award was announced last October.

“Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, ‘Are my songs literature?'” Dylan said later in a thank-you speech read aloud by the US ambassador to Sweden during the December Nobel ceremony in Stockholm, which he skipped due to “pre-existing commitments”. (AFP)

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.