Bob Dylan Breaks Silence on Nobel Prize Win: I Appreciate the Honor So Much

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Bob Dylan performs in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 12, 2012.
Bob Dylan performs in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 12, 2012.Credit: Chris Pizzello, AP

Bob Dylan has finally broken his silence on his Nobel Literature Prize win, saying the announcement October 13 left him "speechless," the Nobel Foundation said Friday.

"If I accept the prize? Of course," the foundation quoted Dylan as saying.

The American singer and songwriter is the first musician to be awarded the prestigious literature prize.

The choice sparked controversy in the literary establishment, with many publicly arguing the prize should have gone to a writer of books, not songs.

Dylan's initial failure to publicly acknowledge the prize drew broad criticism, with many calling his silence arrogant.

The Swedish Academy said after five days trying to contact Dylan to personally inform him of the award it had given up.

Dylan called Swedish Academy Permanent Secretary Sara Danius this week, the Nobel Foundation said.

"The news about the Nobel left me speechless," he said. "I appreciate the honor so much."

The Nobel Foundation said it had not yet been decided if Dylan would attend the prize ceremony in December in Stockholm.

The news of Dylan's acknowledgement of the prize coincided with the publication of an interview with the musician by Great Britain's Telegraph newspaper.

In it, he said he would "absolutely" attend the ceremony - "if it's at all possible."

The famously taciturn artist told journalist Edna Gunderson it was "amazing, incredible" to receive word of the honor. "Whoever dreams about something like that?"

He tentatively agreed with Danius' assertion that his work is literature, fitting into the oral and sung tradition of ancient poets like Homer and Sappho.

"I suppose so, in some way," he said, citing his songs "Blind Willie" "A Hard Rain" and "Hurricane," among others. But he said the meaning of his lyrics was for others to determine.

"The academics, they ought to know. I'm not really qualified," he said.