Opinion: Does Bob Dylan stand a chance at winning Nobel Prize in Literature?

Megan Brown

Megan Brown

Megan Brown is a sophomore news major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

The Nobel Prize in literature has been awarded 105 times to 109 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2012. Astounding personalities such as William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck are just some of the prestigious individuals who have won the award in the past. The nomination and selection for the award is a long and crucial process, and the nominations cannot be made public until 50 years after the award is given.

So, who will win this year?

This past week, Bill Wyman, a freelance writer on the arts and former art editor at NPR wrote an article in The New York Times explaining why musician and lyricist Bob Dylan should be up for the award:

“Why isn’t the most vital of the artistic catalysts of those upheavals himself a front-runner for the prize? I’m referring of course to Bob Dylan, a fierce and uncompromising poet whose writing, 50 years on, still crackles with relevance.”

I’ve been a Bob Dylan fan for most of life. But is his work actually considered literature? Dylan, known in his early days as a voice for a political movement, still writes lyrics about the concerns and subjects we face today. His music and lyrics are timeless and you can consider him a poet. I believe it is time to take this suggestion into consideration and award Dylan.

While he most certainly is not a creator of “great literature, you have to consider others who have won in the past. In 1997, the literature prize went to Dario Fo, an Italian playwright known for his controversial plays. This selection for the award shocked many, including the Roman Catholic Church. The Swedish Academy has since refused to recognized such a contentious mind since.

Dylan has added literature to his music. A cultural revolution was brought about during his early career. He took his folk sound and added electric to it (this was specifically known at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, where he came on stage with an electric guitar versus his usual acoustic and caused an unrest among the crowd). Along with his sound, he also took the ideas of what was happening around him and created poetry for them, such as “Resolution Row,” “The Times Are A-Changing.”

It’s time for someone like Dylan to win this well-respected award. It couldn’t hurt the Swedish Academy to take a chance on him.