The Times They Are a-Changin’ as Bob Dylan is awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, the first songwriter to have received the award since the Nobel Prize for Literature began in 1901. Previous winners have included John Steinbeck, Gabriel García Márquez, Samuel Beckett and Ernest Hemingway. The citation reads “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
Many of Bob Dylan’s most well-known songs – Blowin in the Wind, The Times They are a Changing became anthems for the anti-war and the civil rights movement of the ’60s. There’s no doubt that he’s a walking songbook, a fact reflected in the number of University degree courses dedicated to studying and interpreting his work. The New York Times were quick to respond asking “What took them so long”. Praise is still flooding in from around the world including president Obama:
Congratulations to one of my favorite poets, Bob Dylan, on a well-deserved Nobel. https://t.co/c9cnANWPCS
— President Obama (@POTUS) October 13, 2016
Whatever the sentiment about its timeliness this is seen as a new direction for the Swedish Academy and there are bound to be more songwriters to follow – Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen have already been touted by the press as possibilities….time will tell.