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Absentee Nobel laureate Dylan honoured

AAP logoAAP 10/12/2016

Rock legend Bob Dylan said he had never considered winning the Nobel Literature award and was "honoured" to join "giants of literature" like Rudyard Kipling and Thomas Mann in a speech read on his behalf at the Nobel banquet.

"If someone had ever told me that I had the slightest chance of winning the Nobel Prize, I would have to think that I'd have about the same odds as standing on the moon," the singer-songwriter said.

In the speech - read on Saturday by US Ambassador to Sweden Azita Raji - Dylan said he was sorry for not being able to attend the award ceremony and subsequent banquet but was there "in spirit".

He had announced his absence last month.

He recalled how he from an early age had read "the works of those who were deemed worthy of such a distinction including Kipling, [George Bernard] Shaw, Thomas Mann, Pearl Buck, Albert Camus, [Ernest] Hemingway."

"That I now join the names on such a list is truly beyond words," Dylan said of the previous literature laureates.

Dylan said he recognised "I am in very rare company, to say the least."

He noted how he had "made dozens of records and played thousands of concerts all around the world. But it's my songs that are at the vital centre of almost everything I do. They seemed to have found a place in the lives of many people throughout many different cultures and I'm grateful for that."

In conclusion he said that he had "not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, "Are my songs literature?""

So, I do thank the Swedish Academy, both for taking the time to consider that very question, and, ultimately, for providing such a wonderful answer."

The speech was one of several held at the end of the banquet at the Stockholm City Hall attended by about 1300 guests.

The literature prize is one of the awards endowed by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Nobel prizes for medicine, physics, chemistry, and economics were presented in Stockholm, Sweden.

In accordance with Nobel's will, the peace prize is handed out in Oslo, Norway.

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