The Nobel Prize’s literature committee went with a far left field candidate this year: musician Bob Dylan. The singer-songwriter is receiving world literature’s highest prize for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” according to this morning’s announcement, as reported by The New York Times.

Dylan has been floated as a potential candidate for the prize for years, but his chances have been seen as quite low, considering that it typically goes to more traditional members of the literary world, like novelists or poets, with the occasional nonfiction writer thrown in. The prize going to Dylan seemed so unlikely that in 2015, The New Republic’s Alex Shephard declared: “If Bob Dylan wins, I will eat my copy of Blood on the Tracks." Some of this year's more favored candidates included writers Don DeLillo and Haruki Murakami.

Widely considered the greatest songwriter in the English language, Dylan, who is still touring at 75, is the first American to win the literature prize since Toni Morrison in 1993. He’s only the 14th American to win since the prize’s inception. The prodigious artist published a book of prose poetry, Tarantula, in 1971, in addition to several books of drawings and paintings. Dylan received a special citation from the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for his contributions to music.

The Nobel Prize in Literature is the last of the Nobels to be awarded; the scientific awards were announced last week, as was the Nobel Peace Prize. The economics prize was announced earlier this week. The awards ceremony takes place annually on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.

[h/t The New York Times]

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