When it was announced last week that Bob Dylan had won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, it set off waves of discussion online. Should a musician win an award for literature? Is Bob Dylan still relevant?
But the bigger question this week, seems to be: Does Bob Dylan care?
Dylan gave concerts Thursday — when the announcement was made — and Friday. Despite the fact Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones both made mention of the award at the concert they and Dylan were playing Friday (Desert Trip in Coachella), Dylan, 75, made no comments either night.
He has also thus far failed to return the Prize committee’s phone calls or emails.
“I have called and sent emails to his closest collaborator and received very friendly replies,” Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the academy, told the U.K. Telegraph. “For now, that is certainly enough.”
Dylan has a decidedly mixed record when it comes to publicly accepting awards. He famously sympathized with JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in his bizarre and rambling speech accepting the 1963 Tom Paine award for civil rights (later dramatized in Tom Haines’ impressionistic Dylan biopic I’m Not There).
He has also, at times, skipped out on the Oscars, an award from the Crown Prince of Spain, and the White House’s National Medal of the Arts award, in 2000, 2007 and 2010, respectively.
Danius said she was “not at all worried” about the possibility of Dylan skipping the Dec. 10 Nobel Awards ceremony in Stockholm. “I think he will show up,” she said. But she preceded that statement with, “if he doesn’t want to come, he won’t come. It will be a big party, in any case, and the honor belongs to him.”
It’s unclear if Dylan will have to engage with the Nobel Academy to acquire his $900,000 in prize money, or if they can just Venmo that to him.