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Since Bob Dylan seems uninterested, I wish to nominate myself to be the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.

An Open Letter to the Swedish Academy Regarding the Nobel Prize in Literature

lit_medal_intro

Dear Members of the Swedish Academy:

First of all, I am writing a letter of apology on behalf of my fellow American, Mr. Bob Dylan, upon whom you graciously bestowed the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. I know that he has not been in touch with you regarding this magnificent honor, and some members of your esteemed organization are understandably irritated with his lack of, shall we say, enthusiasm at being held in such high esteem by your members.

author5Since I realize that November 10 is coming quickly, Mr. Dylan seems uninterested, and I am almost certain that you hope to bestow the award on someone who will willingly accept this most prestigious honor, I wish to nominate myself to be the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some if not all of your membership may think this is unprecedented and perhaps arrogant, but I can assure you that I am in all humility a writer who is deserving of this accolade, and I have received awards before if that figures into your process of consideration. Honestly, if the teachers of the City of New York could bestow a creative writing award upon me in high school, and the National Arts Club saw fit to award me with top prize for poetry when I was attending CUNY, I believe that my inherent worthiness of further consideration for higher honors should be apparent.

People who have read my novel Like a Passing Shadow, which are at least six and counting (and that does not include any immediate family members), have told me that reading that book changed their lives forever. Since I have never seen or heard from any of these people again, I am assuming that they have gone about life-altering journeys which they would have not undertaken without my book’s motivating message.

My offer to you is totally sincere and in earnest, and if you would just Google my name you will discover a wealth of published material for your perusal. More importantly, I will swiftly accept the award, make considerable fuss about receiving it, and comply with all your necessary and compelling rules and regulations regarding it. Honestly, I will even do the dishes after the ceremony if that counts for anything.

Hopefully you will take this under advisement and get back to me with a positive response shortly. In the meantime I will prepare my acceptance address which will be shorter than Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s but much longer than Mr. Dylan’s, since obviously he has not written even a sentence at this juncture.

nobel_medal_dsc06171Again, I do apologize for Mr. Dylan, and I am sending this off to you rather hastily because I fear your academy will believe that all Americans are a bunch of ignorant louts who think nothing of the true nobility of the Nobel Prize.

I am going to end this letter by thanking the members of the committee for their consideration of my candidacy, and now you must excuse me while I put the bubbly on ice, continue writing my acceptance speech, and await your phone call.

Sincerely yours in literary appreciation,

Victor Lana


About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His books 'A Death in Prague' (2002), 'Move' (2003), 'The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories' (2005), and 'Like a Passing Shadow' (2009) are available in print, online, and as e-books. His latest books 'Heartbeat and Other Poems,' 'If the Fates Allow: New York Christmas Stories,' 'Garden of Ghosts,' and 'Flashes in the Pan' are available exclusively on Amazon. He has won the National Arts Club Award for Poetry, but has concentrated on writing mostly fiction and non-fiction prose in recent years. He has worked as a faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with 'Blogcritics Magazine' since July 2005 and has written well over 500 articles; previously co-head sports editor, he now is a Culture and Society editor. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday where he figures a few ideas for new stories await him.

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9 comments

  1. Dr Joseph S Maresca

    The celebrations are on December 10th and the lectures are usually a few days previous.
    Mr. Dylan has not declined the prize as was done by Ho Chi Minh. And so, the prize stands. His website amplified his acceptance by publishing the fact that he won the prize in recent days.

    I believe that Bob won the prize because the Committee is getting into the area of musical score and literary content which amplifies an idealistic tendency, as interpreted by the
    Committee. Since Bob sang many pieces with peace themes around the time of the Vietnam War, I believe that the Committee focused on the anti-war nature of his work at that time. For this reason alone, he could qualify to be nominated and receive the prize.

    Jane Fonda could qualify to receive a Nobel Peace Prize due to her work in favor of ending the Vietnam War (whether or not you agree with her stance then or now).

  2. Dr Joseph S Maresca

    Le Duc Tho (N.Vietnam) declined the Nobel Peace Prize in ’73. Previous to that, Jean Paul Sartre (Fr.) declined the Literature Prize in 1964.

    Customarily, the literature prize is awarded for poetry, story telling or light literature (belles lettres) that points toward the ideal or an idealistic tendency. Under this definition, people like Pearl Buck won the literature prize for writings like “The Good Earth”.

    Bob Dylan’s prize gets into an extension of the definition with music and song. The Committee departed from the standard application of light literature by awarding the prize to Sir Winston Churchill for his writings on World War 2. Another departure was with the selection of Bertrand Russell (Br.) for enhancements to logical thinking and interpretation.

  3. The Blogcritics Academy seconds that emotion!

    • Well, I’ve always thought that one day I would say, “I’d like to thank the members of the academy for this award.” Seems apropos that it would be Blogcritics Academy.

  4. Dr Joseph S Maresca

    Victor, I believe that you may have been nominated already given some of the volumes you’ve written and the awards that have been garnered. The Academy does not release the names of the nominators for 50 years.

    Candidates don’t nominate themselves. Usually, other winners of the prize nominate them or senior level academicians at colleges or universities do so. I believe that Bob Dylan was nominated many years ago. Recently, the Committee probably revisited the nomination.

    Bob Dylan covered anti-war and civil rights themes during his extensive music career. Both themes are hot right now due to events like the interminable conflict in Iraq and even the protests of Colin Kaepernick to open up a conversation on the state of race relations in America.

    Bob Dylan and even Jane Fonda have been vindicated by another debacle in Iraq. We lost thousands of lives in both Vietnam and Iraq. The financial costs have been ruinous. i.e. billions spent on the Vietnam War & trillions spent in Iraq with no end in sight.

    Senator Everett Dirksen used to say : ” A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.” Apparently, nothing has changed since his time in office. (and maybe nothing will ever change in the scheme of things)

    • I really didn’t nominate myself since this was all in jest; nevertheless, just like Groucho Marx, I’d never want to belong to a club that had me as a member.

      Now excuse me while I go shoot an elephant in my pajamas.

      PS> Thanks for the clarity provided by your comments, Dr. Maresca.

      • Dr Joseph S Maresca

        I would not be the person to be given the opportunity to evaluate your work. Clearly, someone like Toni Morrison would have to take the time out to read your works and opine on their importance to the literary world.

        To be on the fast track for the literature prize, your work would have to demonstrate the idealism and idealistic tendencies actively sought by the Academy in its universality requirement.

  5. Dr Joseph S Maresca

    A recent visit to the Nobel website produced an interview by an Academy member together with an extensive delineation of Bob Dylan’s work. Apparently, Bob is seen as a considerable poet and writer in the great American tradition.

    The Committee stated that he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

    Here is a brief 2 minute interview of the Academy member on record:
    http://www.nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=2631

    His very extensive bibliography, writings and songs are cited here:
    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2016/bio-bibl.html

    The publication of the Nobel Lecture is the next step in this process. The lecture will occur in all likelihood circa December 8, 2016. On December 10th, Bob will be awarded the Nobel Prize Medal/Diploma at the 115th ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden.

  6. I saw a report that Dylan called the academy, and now it seems that he will be there. I have read past lectures by literature winners (Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, etc.) and cannot wait to see what Dylan has to say. Thanks for the links, Dr. Maresca.