Despite his work straying from the traditional literary mediums of novels, poetry and short stories, Bob Dylan has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. The renowned musician is the first singer-songwriter to win a Nobel Prize in Literature, and furthermore, is the first American to win a prize in literature since novelist Toni Morrison in 1993.
The Swedish Academy’s permanent secretary, Sara Danius, announced the news Thursday, with Dylan earning the prize “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” in the words of the Academy.
“He is a great poet in the English-speaking tradition, and he is a wonderful sampler—a very original sampler,” said Danius in an interview following the announcement. “For 54 years now he has been at it and reinventing himself, constantly creating a new identity.”
Since 1901, 109 Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded to 113 writers who have created “the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.” Dylan, 75, will receive his award in Stockholm, Sweden on Dec. 10.