Read Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize Speech: ‘I Recognize That I Am in Very Rare Company’

Source: Time

By Maya Rhodan

“I am most definitely with you in spirit and honored to be receiving such a prestigious prize”

Bob Dylan was not in attendance at the 2016 Nobel Prize banquet in Stockholm on Saturday, but the 2016 winner did send a surrogate to read his speech.

Dylan is the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, one of the highest honors on the globe, though he has appeared to bit reluctant. A statement released by Swedish Academy said that while the songwriter was “very honored indeed” for the prize, due to a prior commitment he was not able to travel to the event. “That laureates decide not to come [to the banquet] is unusual, to be sure, but not exceptional,” the statement says. Read his full speech here:

Good evening, everyone. I extend my warmest greetings to the members of the Swedish Academy and to all of the other distinguished guests in attendance tonight.

I’m sorry I can’t be with you in person, but please know that I am most definitely with you in spirit and honored to be receiving such a prestigious prize. Being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature is something I never could have imagined or seen coming. From an early age, I’ve been familiar with and reading and absorbing the works of those who were deemed worthy of such a distinction: Kipling, Shaw, Thomas Mann, Pearl Buck, Albert Camus, Hemingway. These giants of literature whose works are taught in the schoolroom, housed in libraries around the world and spoken of in reverent tones have always made a deep impression. That I now join the names on such a list is truly beyond words.

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