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Outrage greets award of Nobel to Bob Dylan



Shock as Kenyan writer, Ngugi wa Thiongo misses again!


By Ada Anioji


Outrage, shock and anger has greeted yesterday’s annoncement by the Nobel Committee awarding its 2016 Literature prize to the musician, Bob Dylan.

Before now, there were very strong feelers all around the world that the front-runner for the prize this year was the Kenyan writer, winner of South Korea’s 2016 most acclaimed literary prize and author of popular novels like Petals of Blood, Weep not Child and Devil on the Cross, Ngugi wa Thiongo.

So high was the fervour for a likely Ngugi win that his fellow African writers like Binyawana Wainana and Okey Ndibe had taken to social media in anticipation of the eventuality. 

Expected to have been delivered on October 6, the verdict came almost a week later with the committee now routing for Dylan.

And as is to be expected, many, particularly within the African literary community, are not amused. Says, University of Lagos Professor and immediate past Commissioner for Higher Education in Delta State, Hope Eghagha: ‘A world that can award the Nobel prize for Literature to Bob Dylan can elect Donald Trump president of America. Stupid decision by the Nobel mafia.’

For Theophilus Iwoh, ‘it was a shocking announcement. The reason the Nobel Committee gave for its decision was even more ridiculous than the award itself.’

Also commenting on Ngugi’s loss, Odili Charles remarked: ‘I’m still wondering the deep literary content in the rap musical genre that will upstage the one “petalled” in the blood of a sage. Ngugi’s prowess reverberates through times infinite measure. They say the law is an ass. An assembly of honorable men can be an ass sometimes.’

Born on May 24, 1941, Bob Dylan has been a leading voice in music and pop culture in the world.

According to the Nobel Committee, Dylan got the prize for his “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”

The 108th winner of the most prestigious literature prize in the world was also linked by the committee to a long-running tradition of fusing the textual and the verbal: “If you look back, far back, 2,500 years or so, you discover Homer and Sappho and they wrote poetic texts that were meant to be listened to, that were meant to be performed, often with instruments — and it’s the same way with Bob Dylan.”

Dylan is also the first American to be awarded the accolade since the notable African American novelist and author of the epic text, Sula, Toni Morrison clinched it in 1993.


Ngugi, reading to an audience in Lagos, Nigeria



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