Well, Shakespeare, he’s in the alley with his pointed shoes and his bells, and Bob Dylan’s heading to Stockholm to claim the Nobel Prize.
From Hemingway to Hesse, Camus to Kawabata, Singer to Soyinka, Nobel winners in literature have authored books of poetry, fiction, and journalism. But the latest laureate is best-known for a body of recorded music. And that news has Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer, wondering which way the wind blows.
“Dylan is an author, of course,” Albanese note. “In addition to his lyrics, he is the author of Tarantula, a book of prose poetry, and Chronicles, a projected three-part memoir series, published by Simon & Schuster. He has also authored six art books. He is set to publish The Lyrics: 1961-2012, with a November 8 scheduled release, but that is now, understandably, being accelerated.”
Coming on the cusp of the Frankfurt Book Fair, however, the surprising announcement from the Swedish Academy is sure to spark debate among the international publishing world, Albanese believes.
“Publishing professionals, like me, are probably largely Dylan fans. Some may be delighted to see the Nobel committee expand the field of literature to include a figure like Dylan,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.
“But, of all the great writers working internationally, of all the people who are working within the world of literature—the important voices and stories, and people whose work supports education, libraries, and booksellers — Bob Dylan? Really? In 2016?”
Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.