Bob Dylan will not attend the ceremony to accept his literature prize next month because he has “other commitments”, the Nobel Academy confirmed on Wednesday night.
It said it respected the 75-year-old singer’s decision but that it was “unusual” for a Nobel laureate not to go to Stockholm, Sweden, to accept the award in person.
Nobel laureates are honoured every year on December 10 – the death anniversary of the prize’s founder Alfred Nobel, a Swedish industrialist, inventor and philanthropist.
A spokesman said: “The Swedish Academy received a personal letter from Bob Dylan yesterday where he explained that he could not make himself available in December... He wishes that he could accept the award personally, but other commitments make it unfortunately impossible.
“He underlined that he feels incredibly honoured by the Nobel prize,” the spokesman added.
Several other literature prizewinners have skipped the Nobel award ceremony in the past for various reasons – Doris Lessing on grounds of ill health, Harold Pinter because he was hospitalised and Elfriede Jelinek due to social phobia.
“We look forward to Bob Dylan’s Nobel lecture, which he must carry out – it is the only requirement – within six months starting from December 10, 2016,” the Academy said.
But Sara Danius, its permanent secretary, told a Swedish news agency that she did not know how or when Dylan would be able to deliver the lecture.
The value of the prestigious award – which depends on donations – is £700 000 this year.