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Nobel Literature Prize 2016: Bob Dylan named winner

US musician wins prestigious award for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".

Bob Dylan

US singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".

The Swedish Academy announced its decision on Thursday, drawing to a close the 2016 Nobel season.

Dylan's surprise win marked the first time the prestigious award was bestowed to someone primarily seen as a musician.

The songwriter, 74, had been mentioned in the Nobel speculation for years, but few experts expected the academy to extend the award to a genre such as pop music.

'Greatest living poet'

Regarded by many as the voice of a generation for his influential music and lyrics from the 1960s onwards, Dylan is still writing songs and is often on tour.

"Dylan has the status of an icon. His influence on contemporary music is profound," the Swedish Academy said, when it awarded the $930,000 prize.

His songs such as Blowin' in the Wind, Masters of War, A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall, The Times They Are a-Changin, Subterranean Homesick Blues and Like a Rolling Stone captured a spirit of rebellion, dissent and independence.

"He is probably the greatest living poet," Swedish Academy member Per Wastberg said.

Nobel ceremony

This year, the Sweden-based body, which has awarded the literature prize since 1901, registered about 220 nominees that were later cut to a short list of five.

In 2015, the academy awarded Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich, citing her writings on key events affecting Belarus during and after the Soviet era, including the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the Soviet-Afghan War and the fall of the Soviet Union.

This year, the literature prize was the last of the six Nobels to be announced, following those for medicine, physics, chemistry, peace and economics.

The six awards will be handed out on December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.

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