After weeks of silence regarding whether he will accept the Nobel Prize for literature, Bob Dylan has returned the Swedish Academy's phone calls. As it turns out, he accepts.
The Nobel Foundation posted a statement Friday on its website saying the elusive songwriter had phoned to say, "The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless," adding that, "I appreciate the honor so much."
Dylan was a controversial pick for the prize, and his silence after the October 13 announcement led one Academy member to describe his behavior as "impolite and arrogant." But maybe he just hates listening to voicemail and only now got around to checking his messages.
According to the British newspaper the Telegraph, reporter Edna Gunderson reached the singer Frodau by telephone in Oklahoma, where he is currently touring. "Isn't that something?" Dylan said of the honor. The 75-year-old singer promised, somewhat enigmatically, that he would "absolutely" attend the Nobel award ceremony in December - "if it's at all possible."
Gunderson had been scheduled to interview Dylan about an upcoming exhibition of his paintings at London's Halcyon Gallery. She wrote that their interview lasted two-and-a-half hours, though he refused to be pinned down on the meaning of his lyrics. "I'll let other people decide what they are," Dylan told her. "The academics, they ought to know. I'm not really qualified. I don't have any opinion."
"At heart," Gundersen wrote, "he just likes to remain beyond reach."