After weeks of will-he-or-won’t-he speculation, the answer is: both. Bob Dylan will accept his Nobel Prize in Literature — but he won’t do so in person.
In a statement headlined “Bob Dylan has decided not to come to Stockholm,” the Swedish Academy reports that “yesterday evening the Swedish Academy received a personal letter from Bob Dylan, in which he explained that due to pre-existing commitments, he is unable to travel to Stockholm in December and therefore will not attend the Nobel Prize Ceremony. He underscored, once again, that he feels very honored indeed, wishing that he could receive the prize in person.”
The Academy acknowledges that for a laureate not to appear at the ceremony “is unusual, to be sure, but not exceptional. In the recent past, several laureates have, for various reasons, been unable to come to Stockholm to receive the prize, among them Doris Lessing, Harold Pinter, and Elfriede Jelinek. The prize still belongs to them, just as it belongs to Bob Dylan.”
The Swedes are putting their feet down in one important respect: Dylan must deliver a Nobel Lecture “within six months counting from December 10, 2016,” the date of the ceremony.