The times they are a changin': Songwriter Bob Dylan wins 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature

Francesca Washtell
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Festival Dylan
Bob Dylan has been recording since the 1960s (Source: Getty)

Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".

Dylan moved to New York in 1961 to perform in clubs and cafes in Greenwich Village and shortly after met the record producer John Hammed, with whom he signed a contract for his self-titled debut album in 1962.

He has produced dozens of albums over the course of his more than 50-year career, including 2016 work Fallen Angels, and is the first songwriter to win the award.

Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, has described 75-year-old Dylan as: “A great sampler… and for 54 years he has been at it, reinventing himself.”

Read more: What makes a Nobel Prize winner?

The prize, which was first awarded in 1901, has been won by literary heavyweights including Albert Camus (1957), Samuel Beckett (1969), William Golding (1983) and, last year, by Russian Svetlana Alexievich.

In Alfred Nobel's will, he stipulated the literature award should be given to those who have created "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction".

Last week, the Nobel Prize for Economics was awarded to British professor Oliver Hart and Finnish academic Bengt Holmstrom for innovations in contract theory.

A British professor was also among this year's chemistry laureates, who won for making the world's smallest machines, while the Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to a trio of British professors working at US universities whose research had revealed the "secrets of exotic matter".

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