Bob Dylan fails to attend Nobel Prize ceremony

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature at a ceremony in Stockholm

Bob Dylan fails to attend Nobel Prize ceremony

Bob Dylan accepting an award in 2015 [Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP, File]

Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature at a ceremony today, but did not attend the event.

The Swedish Academy's Horace Engdahl explained in the presentation speech why the legendary singer-songwriter was given an award usually reserved for authors, poets and playwrights.

In the speech, Engdahl said Dylan "dedicated himself body and soul to 20th century American popular music, the kind played on radio stations and gramophone records for ordinary people, white and black: protest songs, country, blues, early rock, gospel, mainstream music."

"Recognizing that revolution by awarding Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize was a decision that seemed daring only beforehand and already seems obvious. But does he get the prize for upsetting the system of literature? Not really," Engdahl said. "There is a simpler explanation, one that we share with all those who stand with beating hearts in front of the stage at one of the venues on his never-ending tour, waiting for that magical voice."

The Swedish Academy concluded their speech by taking note of the critics who opposed Dylan's Nobel Prize win. 

"By means of his oeuvre, Bob Dylan has changed our idea of what poetry can be and how it can work," Engdahl said. "If people in the literary world groan, one must remind them that the gods don't write, they dance and they sing."

Following the speech, Patti Smith performed Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall."

The full speech can be read here.