Nobel Prizes

‘I’d say he’s arrogant but I’d be lying’: Swedes on Bob Dylan

'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP
On October 13th, Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for "creating new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition", but almost two weeks later, he has yet to comment on his win.

The Swedish Academy has failed in its attempts to contact the folk-rock singer, his recent performances have lacked any acknowledgment of the award, and his website even removed a succinct mention of him being a Nobel Prize winner less than 24 hours after it was published.

Dylan’s lack of comment has left the world guessing why he has yet to address the honour. Some have called him arrogant, others honest, but what do the everyday residents of the country that gives out the Nobel Literature Prize think of his silence?

The Local’s intern Tilly Olsson took to the streets of Stockholm to find out.

What do you think about Bob Dylan not responding to his Nobel Prize in Literature?

“I would say that he’s arrogant, but I would be lying. I think it’s awesome. ‘Cause he does his thing, and he doesn’t care about prizes or about winning,” notes Donny, who at the age of 23 is one of the younger interviewees.

Rita Loibl, 32, is not entirely convinced however: “When he gets a prize and he doesn't say anything… it's his business. I also find it a bit arrogant, but it's his decision.”

“I think it's weird that he's not responding. I mean if he doesn't want it, maybe he should say that also,” laughs Jessica Creutzer, 32.

“I don't think it matters whether he answers or not,” argues Erik Hedenviny, 29. 

“That has happened before, someone not accepting their award of not answering calls. He's got a lot of prizes, I think it's not a big deal, it's just that everyone was so shocked he got it in the first place. Now we want to keep spinning on that. First it was like 'oh, he got it!', then 'will he answer? What's the next surprise?',” he adds.

Do you think he deserves the Nobel Prize in the first place?

“No. Literature is one thing. It has to be literature!” insists Anna, age 70. 

“There are so many writers, so I don't understand why he was given the prize. I don't think that one should give Nobel Prizes in Literature to someone that has to do with music. I think the whole Academy has devalued literature by doing so,” she elaborates. 

Georgina, who is 26, speculates that Swedes may place more value on the Nobel Prizes compared to the rest of the world however.

“It's funny because I just came back from the US. I spoke with some local people in New York and told them that Bob Dylan just got the Nobel Prize,” she explains.

“Their reaction was 'well what is the Nobel Prize? How serious is that even?'. After that, I was like 'maybe Sweden thinks too highly of the Nobel Prizes'.”

Whether Dylan thinks highly of it or not, we have yet to learn.