Friday, October 20, 2023 8:03 pm
By Nehru Odeh
Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka has said the Nobel Prize in Literature shouldn’t have been awarded to American singer Bob Dylan in 2016.
Soyinka maintained this stance in a recent interview with Turkish journalist Aysegul Sert in Paris. Excerpts from the interview were published in an article entitled “Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka on a Lifetime of Art and Activism” in LitHub on October 19 2023.
Recall that the Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
However, Soyinka believes that Bob Dylan shouldn’t have been awarded the prize because, according to him writing lyrics or certain songs is not literature but music.
“The prize for literature should have never gone that way! … As a music lover, and a composer myself, I respect music, but there is something called literature, and we don’t have enough prizes as is.
“If they award this prize to one more musician, I am sending all my musical compositions to the Grammys. I know what I consider literature, and writing lyrics or certain songs, is not literature, it is music!
“You want to have a Nobel Prize for music, fine, I’ll be there, but don’t say that you are taking a prize away from this discipline and extending it to another!”
Asked What the Nobel has meant for his life, Soyinka said without mincing words that if has changed nothing for him.
“It has changed nothing at all for me. All it has done for me is that since then I have to fight for my anonymity.”