(JNS.org) Bob Dylan was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature Thursday, becoming the first songwriter ever to win the award.
The Swedish Academy said the 75-year-old iconic songwriter was chosen for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” comparing his lifetime work to ancient Greek poets.
Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman, took his stage name from the poet Dylan Thomas. He was born and raised in a Jewish family in Minnesota, converted to Christianity in the late 1970s and later returned to his Jewish roots though claiming no religious affiliation.
In a biographical note with the announcement, the Swedish Academy emphasized Dylan’s versatility as an artist and that he “recorded a large number of albums revolving around topics such as the social conditions of man, religion, politics and love.”
Songs including “Blowin’ in the wind,” “The times they are a-changin,” and “Like a rolling stone” are just a few of Dylan’s legendary tunes that were largely influential on popular music and American culture, especially during periods of social unrest.
“Dylan has the status of an icon,” the Swedish Academy said. “His influence on contemporary music is profound, and he is the object of a steady stream of secondary literature.”
The Nobel Prize comes with an award of $927,740. Dylan is the first American to win the prize since the novelist, Toni Morrison, did in 1993.