Bob Dylan labelled ‘impolite and arrogant’ over Nobel Prize snub

Music icon follows Albert Einstein and Jean-Paul Sartre in appearing to snub the Nobel academy

Bob Dylan has been described as “impolite and arrogant” for his silence following his Nobel Prize win.

Credited with having “created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” Dylan, 75, was announced as this year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature earlier this month. The award is given to an individual who has produced “in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”.

Following the news, Leonard Cohen, The Rolling Stones and Tom Waits have all congratulated Dylan on his historic win. However, the mercurial singer-songwriter himself has remained notably silent.


Mention of the award temporarily appeared on a website plugging a new collection of Dylan’s lyrics, which described him as the “winner of the Nobel prize in literature”. However, the line disappeared from the site less than a day later.

Dylan has been invited to Stockholm to collect his prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf on December 10, but according to the Nobel Academy he has yet to confirm his attendance at the event alongside 2016’s other Nobel Prize winners.

Nobel academy member and writer Per Wastberg has now hit out at Dylan, speaking to Sweden’s SVT public television. “This is an unprecedented situation,” he said. “It’s impolite and arrogant… He is who he is.”

“We were aware that he can be difficult and that he does not like appearances when he stands alone on the stage,” Wastberg added in a separate interview with Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

Some fans have called on Dylan to refuse the award because of the Nobel prize’s founder, Alfred Nobel, was an armaments manufacturer. Even if Dylan decides not to accept the title of Nobel laureate, the Nobel academy do not acknowledge rejections and continue to list winners of its awards.

Other figures who have snubbed the Nobel academy in the past include Albert Einstein and Jean-Paul Sartre.