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Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize in Literature

by Ree Hines / / Source: TODAY

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Congratulations are in order for Bob Dylan. The American singer-songwriter just won the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016.

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing at the Vieilles Charrues Music Festival in France in 2012.FRED TANNEAU / AFP - Getty Images

The Swedish Academy, the organization in charge of the annual decision, made the announcement Thursday morning, stating that Dylan took the honor "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

While Dylan fans have long considered the musical icon an important poet and undeniable force in folk, blues and rock, others consider him a surprising pick for the prestigious literary honor.

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan in New York in 1969John Cohen / Getty Images

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British bookmakers didn't like Dylan's odds for the prize before the big reveal, putting him far behind seeming shoo-ins, including Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Japanese writer Haruiki Murakami.

Immediately following the announcement, Secretary of the Swedish Academy Sara Danils was asked if Dylan really deserved the honor.

Bob Dylan
Dylan smiles during a meeting with the British press in 1965.Harry Thompson / Getty Images

"Well of course he does — he just got it," she said. "He is a great poet in the English speaking tradition, and he is a wonderful sampler. ... For 54 years now, he's been at it and reinventing himself constantly, creating a new identity."

Danils rejected the idea that any musician would be an odd choice for the award, pointing to respected literary works that were meant to be listened to thousands of years ago from Homer and Sappho.

"Same thing with Bob Dylan," she said. "He can be read; he should be read."

Bob Dylan
Dylan at the Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark, in 2001. Niels Meilvang / EPA

And for non-fans looking for a place to start, the official didn't hesitate to make a recommendation: his 1966 album "Blonde on Blonde."

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