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Bob Dylan Has Won The 2016 Nobel Prize In Literature

The singer-songwriter has been awarded the honor "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

Last updated on October 13, 2016, at 7:58 a.m. ET

Posted on October 13, 2016, at 7:12 a.m. ET

US singer-songwriter Bob Dylan is the surprise recipient of this year's Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Academy announced Thursday.

BREAKING 2016 #NobelPrize in Literature to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great Am…

Dylan has been honored "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

The Minnesota-born folk-rock legend faced competition from the likes of Japanese author Haruki Murakami, Syrian poet Adonis, Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and US author Joyce Carol Oates. He is the first musician to claim the prize.

He is also the first American to win the literature prize since Toni Morrison won in 1993, and the 259th American Nobel laureate in any field.

Christopher Polk / Getty Images

When asked whether Dylan deserved the prize, Sara Danius, the Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, told the Nobel Prize website: "Of course he does. He just got it! He is a great poet. A great poet in the English-speaking tradition, and a wonderful sampler — a very original sampler".

"He embodies the tradition, and for 54 years he's been at it, reinventing himself constantly, and creating a new identity," she added.

Danius said she had yet to speak to Dylan, but identified his 1966 album Blonde on Blonde as the best example of his work: "It's an extraordinary example of his brilliant way of rhyming and putting together refrains and his pictorial thinking."

Addressing whether she thought the Academy's choice might be seen as a surprise, Danius said: “If you look far back, 2500 years of so, you discover Homer and Sappho. They wrote poetic texts that were meant to be listened to and performed often together we instruments, and it’s the same way for Bob Dylan. We still read Homer and Sappho, and we enjoy it, and it's the same with Dylan — he can be read and should be read.”

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.