Let’s talk: Does Bob Dylan deserve his Nobel Prize for literature?

American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, sparking huge debate over whether or not he

American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, sparking huge debate over whether or not he actually deserves the honour.

It is the first time the literary prize has been awarded to a songwriter, leaving many authors and poets with a sour taste in their mouths.

When the announcement was was read in front of the room full of journalists there were audible gasps of surprise followed by a long round of applause and cheers from many.

The Nobel Academy said Dylan is “the greatest living poet” and that his work deserved to be recognised after all this time.

Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Nobel Academy, said there was “great unity” in the panel’s decision to give Dylan the $1.2 million prize.

“Dylan has the status of an icon,” she said.

“His influence on contemporary music is profound.”

While many agree with her, others are not so happy.

Popular author Jodi Picoult wrote on social media: “I’m happy for Bob Dylan. But does this mean I can win a Grammy?”

While playwright, Irvine Welsh said: “I’m a Dylan fan, but this is an ill conceived nostalgia award wrenched from the rancid prostates of senile, gibbering hippies.”

Dylan won over people around the world in the 1960s with his songs about American life and his poetic observations of the world around him. His songs were hugely influential for baby boomers, with tunes like ‘The Times They Are A-Changin” becoming an anthem of the civil rights movement and Vietnam War protests.

While some are saying this doesn’t qualify him for the prize, others have been quick to congratulate him.

“Congratulations Bob for getting the Nobel prize. What an achievement!” said Mick Jagger.

While science fiction author John Scalzi said Dylan was a “defensible Nobel pick”.

“Folks: Songwriting is writing, and Bob Dylan is one of the most influential writers in the last 100 years,” he wrote on Twitter.

What are your thoughts? Did Bob Dylan deserve the win? Or should it be reserved for book authors and poets? Are you a fan of Dylan?

  1. George Gilchrist  

    I’m a life time fan. Just read the lyrics of some of his songs ( my favourite is Mr Tambourine Man) and you’ll see something a lot more poetic than “She Loves you, yeh, yeh, yeh!”

  2. it is well deserved and overdue, bobs lyrics are for every day ordinary people,not just academics. he has made a huge difference in my life and i am sure, many others. keep on playing bob

  3. Thomas  

    The writing of song lyrics’, is not ‘literature’, in the ‘meaning’ of this Award.
    It’s for the writing of BOOKS, that this Award was established.

    There’re other reasons’ behind his being given this.
    Lax to the nth degree, by the deciders’.

    IMO, it casts doubt, for the future, in the various ‘subjects’ of the Nobel prize.

  4. Susan Bell  

    Sorry Thomas but it does fit all the criteria set out in the establishing of the award. You need to go and read the criteria and maybe listen to the words that he has written. Songs are poems set to music.

    • Thomas  


      I stand by what I said.

      Not in the least interested in listening to any of his boring songs…….

      Your last sentence is just plain c@&)………
      Go get some life………

  5. I think it is wonderful that Bob Dylan has won this award. He is a great poet of my generation and is so deserving of this award.

  6. Keith Henderson  

    Of course Bob deserved the Nobel Prize for Literature. His writings (songs) have been an inspiration for over 50 nearly 60 years. My favourite is ‘Forever Young’. Simple but perfect.

  7. bob is a literary icon he deserves every bit of the award his detractors are non achievers envious of his talent

  8. Connubial Cassandra  

    Who is Irvine Welsh? Never heard of him. Perhaps Leonard Cohen should have got half of the price. Still better than the Peace Nobel Price for Mr. Obama …

  9. Jan Holdsworth  

    Unquestionably well deserved. One of the finest of poets.

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