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Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize for Literature: Authors react

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On Thursday, Bob Dylan became the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature since Toni Morrison’s 1993 victory, but not everyone is rejoicing. Though Dylan’s lyrics are enigmatic, eloquent, and dense with literary references, he is still a musician, and several authors complained that the award should have gone to a more traditional author of literature. After all, popular musicians already have their own awards, like the Grammys. 

“This feels like the lamest Nobel win since they gave it to Obama for not being Bush,” wrote Gods Without Men author Hari Kunzru. “People could have been introduced to Marias or Ngugi or Yan Lianke or Solstad or Ugresic instead of confirming their Dylan love. So, meh.”

Other authors joked that literature stars should be able to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or be eligible for a Grammy.

One major voice in support of Dylan’s win, however, came from Salman Rushdie, a novelist who has long been considered a contender for the award himself. Rushdie noted the long-standing connections between literature and poetry and music. Stephen King and the ever-literary Bill Clinton also jumped in with praise.

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