By Emmaline Rogers
The winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature has been recently been chosen as... Bob Dylan! While exciting news for some, many are in uproar that they have chosen a lyricist rather than a conventional writer. Read more to hear opinions on the matter from around the St. Mary's community.
Bob Dylan, widely-acclaimed lyricist and narrative song writer, was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” according to the Nobel Prize website. There has been a lot of controversy over Bob Dylan’s eligibility for this prize compared to novelists and other types of writers who have typically received the honor. Though the Nobel Prize committee has received criticism for its choice, there are many, especially in the St. Mary’s community, who are glad to see Dylan up for such a high honor.
Sophomore history teacher Dr. Lyon called it “an interesting idea,” elaborating on how his musical and, specifically, poetic contributions “are worthy of attention.” He went on to say that Dylan’s lyrics in the 60s “had a large social thrust to them and really captured what that moment in history was about.” Dr. Lyon praised the Nobel Prize board for choosing someone “outside the box.” Conversely, many writers protest Bob Dylan getting this award because he isn’t the typical writer that would earn the prize. In fact, an American writer hasn’t won the Nobel Prize in literature since Toni Morrison in 1993 and many writers were expecting someone who fit better into the typical literary genre. “A lot of established authors have criticized this choice,” Dr. Lyon said, but then went on to defend Dylan’s lyrics as influential “not just in terms of the music itself, but the type of writing and artists approach to writing in terms of songs.” Dr. Lyon’s favorite is ‘Oxford Town’ which was written after the riots at the University of Mississippi over integration on campus.
Ms. Bielskis, sophomore English teacher, also stands behind Bob Dylan. She believes that “any writer of merit should win, including lyricists.” She further defended the choice of Dylan by noting that “social protest will always be relevant.” About his initial hesitance towards the acceptance of his prize, she said, “he’s not into prizes, that’s for sure.”
Both teachers were stumped when asked who they think should win the Nobel Prize in Literature, other than Bob Dylan. Dr. Lyon finally nominated Stephen King, saying that “someone who is recognized both for his popular appeal, but also academic, scholarly appeal, would be an interesting choice.” Ms. Bielskis put forward David Sedaris as well as Truman Capote for his short stories. However, both agreed that Bob Dylan has evidently touched many lives with his words, and the Nobel Prize could only go to someone who had.