Bob Dylan won't be coming to Stockholm to pick up his 2016 Nobel Prize for literature at the 10 December prize ceremony, the Swedish Academy said on Wednesday. The Academy says Dylan told them that "he wishes he could receive the prize personally, but other commitments make it unfortunately impossible."
"The Swedish Academy received a personal letter from Bob Dylan on Tuesday where he explained that he could not make himself available in December and leave to Stockholm to accept the Nobel prize in literature," it said in a statement.
"He wishes that he could accept the award personally, but other commitments make it unfortunately impossible. He underlined that he feels incredibly honoured by the Nobel prize," it added.
The 75-year-old American singer-songwriter was awarded the prize on 13 October "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." The literature prize and five other Nobel Prizes will be officially conferred upon winners in Stockholm next month on the anniversary of award founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.
The Academy said it "respects Bon Dylan's decision," adding it was not travelling to the Swedish capital to personally pick up the prestigious award was "unusual, but not exceptional." Literature laureates have skipped the ceremony before. Several other prize winners have skipped the Nobel ceremony in the past for various reasons — Doris Lessing, who was too old; Harold Pinter, because he was hospitalised, and Elfriede Jelinek, who has social phobia.
"The award is still theirs, as it now belongs to Bob Dylan," the Academy said. "We are looking forward to Bob Dylan's Nobel lecture, which he must hold, according to the requirements, within six months" from 10 December.
The 75-year-old, whose lyrics have influenced generations of fans, is the first songwriter to win the literature prize.
With inputs from AFP and AP