Bob Dylan


Bob Dylan

Photo: William Claxton

Bob Dylan
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016

Born: 24 May 1941, Duluth, MN, USA

Prize motivation: “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”

Prize share: 1/1


Bob Dylan was born in Duluth, Minnesota. His original name was Robert Zimmerman and his grandparents were Jewish immigrants from present-day Ukraine and Lithuania. Already at school he formed several bands. After studying at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis he moved to New York City in 1961. Since then he has mainly devoted his time to writing and performing lyrics and music. Dylan's lyrics and other writings sometimes reflect his own life, relationships and religious beliefs. He has also worked as a visual artist. Bob Dylan has six children from two marriages.


Bob Dylan's songs are rooted in the rich tradition of American folk music and are influenced by the poets of modernism and the beatnik movement. Early on, Dylan’s lyrics incorporated social struggles and political protest. Love and religion are other important themes in his songs. His writing is often characterized by refined rhymes and it paints surprising, sometimes surreal imagery. Since his debut in 1962, he has repeatedly reinvented his songs and music. He has also written prose, including his memoirs Chronicles.

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