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American singer Bob Dylan first musician to be awarded Nobel Prize in Literature

Published 13/10/2016

(FILES) This file photo taken on June 3, 1984 shows US singer Bob Dylan performing during a concert at the Olympic stadium in Munich, southern Germany.
US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / DPA / Istvan Bajzat / Germany OUTISTVAN BAJZAT/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on June 3, 1984 shows US singer Bob Dylan performing during a concert at the Olympic stadium in Munich, southern Germany. US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / DPA / Istvan Bajzat / Germany OUTISTVAN BAJZAT/AFP/Getty Images
FILE - In this May 22, 1966, file photo, Bob Dylan gestures during a news conference in Paris, France. Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, a stunning announcement that for the first time bestowed the prestigious award on a musician for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." (AP Photo/Pierre Godot, File)
Nobel Prize in Literature: Bob Dylan
FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2012, file photo, Bob Dylan performs in Los Angeles. Dylan was named the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, in a stunning announcement that for the first time bestowed the prestigious award to someone primarily seen as a musician. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
The audience reacts as Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy Sara Danius announces that Bob Dylan is awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature during a presser at the Old Stockholm Stock Exchange Building in Stockholm, on October 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / TT News Agency / Jonas EKSTROMER / Sweden OUTJONAS EKSTROMER/AFP/Getty Images
File photo dated 3/7/2010 of American singer Bob Dylan who has been hailed as "a great poet in the English-speaking tradition" following his surprise win of the Nobel Prize in Literature. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday October 13, 2016. The 75-year-old was given the prestigious accolade for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition". See PA story SHOWBIZ Dylan. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy Sara Danius announces that Bob Dylan is awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature during a presser at the Old Stockholm Stock Exchange Building in Stockholm, Sweden, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016. Bob Dylan was named the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature Thursday in a stunning announcement that for the first time bestowed the prestigious award to someone primarily seen as a musician. (Jonas Ekstromer / TT via AP)
Fans of Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami react when the Swedish Academy awarded the Nobel prize for literature to US musician Bob Dylan at a shrine in Tokyo on October 13. 2016. US music legend Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award in a decision that stunned prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGIKAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images
This file photo taken on July 29, 1981 shows US singer Bob Dylan performing during a concert in Munich, southern Germany. US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / DPA / Frank Leonhardt / Germany OUTFRANK LEONHARDT/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on April 6, 2011 shows a customer browsing through up a copy of a magazine with an image of Bob Dylan performing at a newsstand in Beijing on April 6, 2011 as the US music legend kicked off a series of first-ever shows in China. US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWNFREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
FILE - This April 27, 1965, file photo, shows Singer Bob Dylan in London. Dylan was named the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, in a stunning announcement that for the first time bestowed the prestigious award to someone primarily seen as a musician. (AP Photo/File)
(FILES) This file photo taken on July 1, 1984 shows US singer Bob Dylan performing during a concert in Sceaux, France. US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / Bruno DECREUSEBRUNO DECREUSE/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on July 13, 1985 shows US singer Bob Dylan performing on the stage of the John F Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia during the first international live aid concert against hunger in Africa. US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / Micelotta FRANKMICELOTTA FRANK/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on April 25, 2011 shows US poet and folk singer Bob Dylan performing during the Bluesfest music festival near Byron Bay. US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOODTORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on February 27, 2002 shows US singer Bob Dylan (L) performing at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / Hector MATAHECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on May 29, 2012 shows US President Barack Obama (R) presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to US musician Bob Dylan in the East Room of the White House in Washington. US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGANMANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
FILE - This July 22, 2012, file photo shows U.S. singer-songwriter Bob Dylan performing onstage at "Les Vieilles Charrues" Festival in Carhaix, western France. Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature, announced Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/David Vincent, File)
(FILES) This file photo taken on April 25, 2011 shows US poet and folk singer Bob Dylan performing during the Bluesfest music festival near Byron Bay. US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOODTORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images
a Boos by US songwriter Bob Dylan who was announced the laureate of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature is displayed at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden, on October 13, 2016. US songwriter Bob Dylan wins the 2016 Nobel Literature Prize. / AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRANDJONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on June 30, 2012 shows US poet and folk singer Bob Dylan performing during the second day of the Hop Farm music festival in Paddock Wood, Kent. US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALLBEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on July 22, 2012 shows US poet and folk singer Bob Dylan performing during the 21st edition of the Vieilles Charrues music festivalin Carhaix-Plouguer, western France. US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / FRED TANNEAUFRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on July 22, 2012 shows US poet and folk singer Bob Dylan performing during the 21st edition of the Vieilles Charrues music festivalin Carhaix-Plouguer, western France. US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / FRED TANNEAUFRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on on July 4, 1978 shows US poet and folk singer Bob Dylan performing in Paris. US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE GUILLAUDPIERRE GUILLAUD/AFP/Getty Images
Books by US songwriter Bob Dylan who was announced the laureate of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature are displayed at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden, on October 13, 2016. US songwriter Bob Dylan wins the 2016 Nobel Literature Prize. / AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRANDJONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images
Peple takes pictures of books by US songwriter Bob Dylan who was announced the laureate of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden, on October 13, 2016. US songwriter Bob Dylan wins the 2016 Nobel Literature Prize. / AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRANDJONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images
Books by US songwriter Bob Dylan who was announced the laureate of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature are displayed at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden, on October 13, 2016. US songwriter Bob Dylan wins the 2016 Nobel Literature Prize. / AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRANDJONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images
Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, gives a press conference to announce the laureate of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden, on October 13, 2016. US songwriter Bob Dylan wins the 2016 Nobel Literature Prize. / AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRANDJONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on October 8, 1987 shows US poet and folk singer Bob Dylan performing in Paris. US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. / AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND GUAYBERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images
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American singer Bob Dylan has become the first musician to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The 75-year-old was given the prestigious accolade for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".

The last American to have won the literature prize was Beloved author Toni Morrison in 1993.

His win has been praised by literary figures and critics, with a leading academic hailing him as the Tennyson of our times.

Professor Seamus Perry, chair of the English Faculty at Oxford University, described Dylan as "one of the greats", adding: "He is, more than any other, the poet of our times, as Tennyson was of his, representative and yet wholly individual, humane, angry, funny, and tender by turn; really, wholly himself, one of the greats."

The decision has not been well-received in all corners, with Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh labelling it an "ill conceived nostalgia award".

The S cottish novelist and playwright tweeted: "I'm a Dylan fan, but this is an ill conceived nostalgia award wrenched from the rancid prostates of senile, gibbering hippies."

Permanent Secretary at the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius, said he was a deserving winner, adding: "He is a great poet in the English-speaking tradition, and he is a wonderful sampler, a very original sampler, he embodies the tradition.

"And for 54 years now he's been at it and re-inventing himself constantly, creating a new identity."

Born Robert Zimmerman on May 24 1941, in the backwaters of Minnesota, he reinvented himself as Bob Dylan.

He is considered one of the greatest lyricists of modern times having penned memorable hits such as B lowin' In The Wind and The Times They Are A-Changin'.

In 2008, the singer-songwriter won the Pulitzer Prize for his contributions to music and American culture.

The last album he released in May this year, titled Fallen Angels, was praised by critics - with Rolling Stone saying: "His phrasing remains spectacular, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious, and the playing is sublime."

The album was a follow-up to 2015's Shadows in the Night, which saw Dylan singing songs made famous by Frank Sinatra.

The six Nobel prizes will be handed out at a ceremony on December 10, which will mark the 120th anniversary of the death of the founder of the prize, Alfred Nobel, in 1896.

Press Association

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