The Swedish Academy confirmed Dylan’s non-attendance to the press Wednesday, noting that they had received a letter from the enigmatic musical icon saying he was unable to attend the December ceremony “due to pre-existing commitments.” Softening the blow, however, he wrote that he felt “very honored” and expressed his wishes to receive the prize personally.
Dylan, 75, is hardly the first Nobel Prize recipient to not attend his awards ceremony. Harold Pinter and Doris Lessing are among the other luminaries who declined the trip to Sweden. (There’s an anecdote about William Faulkner being told he’d have to travel to Sweden to collect his Nobel Prize; he allegedly responded, “That’s a little far to go for supper.”)
Dylan is, however, constrained to at least one commitment that been slightly overlooked in the grand saga of his win: he has to give a Nobel lecture within six months of the award ceremony.
The Academy seems to be holding firm on this point: “We look forward to Bob Dylan’s Nobel lecture, which he must give — it is the only requirement — within six months counting from December 10, 2016.”
Six months seems like a reasonable timeline for him to draft a speech! Guess we’ll find out.