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Stephen King Defends Decision to Give Bob Dylan Nobel Prize for Literature

By December 9, 2016Literary Awards, News

Controversy was recently caused when the singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel prize for literature. Some writers and critics publicly disagreed with the decision, stating that Dylan was more a musician than a writer.

Famed horror writer Stephen King has defended the decision and has accused critics of having sour grapes. As The Guardian reports, in an interview with Rolling Stone, King said: “People complaining about his Nobel either don’t understand or it’s just a plain old case of sour grapes.”

He went on to directly call out writer Gary Shteyngart, saying: “I’ve seen several literary writers who have turned their noses up at the Dylan thing, like Gary Shteyngart. Well, I’ve got news for you, Gary – There are a lot of deserving writers who have never gotten the Nobel prize. And Gary Shteyngart will probably be one of them.”

King went on to argue that Dylan’s songs have opened the door for others and inspired people to take up writing themselves. After news broke that Dylan had won the award, further controversy was caused when the singer remained silent. The Nobel committee revealed it was unable to contact him and some began to accuse Dylan of arrogance. Silence was eventually broken after Dylan contacted the academy and thanked them for the award. He said he would be unable to attend the ceremony but did send a speech to be read out.

Dylan’s music certainly seems to have struck a chord with King. Recalling the first time he heard Subterranean Homesick Blues on the radio as a teenager, King said: “There was a guy on WBZ radio out of Boston … he played Subterranean Homesick Blues. Hearing it was like being electrified. It was like this pressurised dump of lyrics and images.” He went on to say both his children and grandchildren listen to Dylan, a rare achievement in today’s throwaway music culture. “My kids listen to Dylan, and so do my grandkids. That’s three generations. That’s real longevity and quality. Most people in pop music are like moths around a bug light; they circle for a while and then there’s a bright flash and they’re gone. Not Dylan.”

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