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VMI Professor Championed Dylan for Nobel Prize

FILE - This July 22, 2012, file photo shows U.S. singer-songwriter Bob Dylan performing onstage at "Les Vieilles Charrues" Festival in Carhaix, western France. Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature, announced Thursday, Oct.
FILE - This July 22, 2012, file photo shows U.S. singer-songwriter Bob Dylan performing onstage at "Les Vieilles Charrues" Festival in Carhaix, western France. Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature, announced Thursday, Oct.

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Bob Dylan's Nobel recognition is "vindication" for Gordon Ball, an English professor who nominated the singer-songwriter for the award 15 years in a row beginning in 1996. Ball, who specializes in American literature and the Beat Generation, retired from Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, two years ago and now teaches at Washington and Lee University.

"There's an enormous, almost a kind of unbelievability, that it finally happened," Ball said by telephone early Thursday. "People thought I was crazy or really out of line" to suggest that Dylan should be awarded such a prize. But he notes that the committee has recognized a "wide latitude in terms of medium," such as Winston Churchill's oratory, and there's a compelling argument that Dylan has had a good effect on the world.

With songs like "Blowin' in the Wind" on behalf of the civil rights movement, Dylan made a difference, Ball said.

"In short, he has changed the world for the better, I feel," he said.

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Bob Dylan was named the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature Thursday in a stunning announcement that for the first time bestowed the prestigious award to someone primarily seen as a musician.

The Swedish Academy cited the American musician for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

Dylan had been mentioned in the Nobel speculation for years, but few experts expected the academy to extend the prestigious award to a genre such as popular music.

The literature award was the last of this year's Nobel Prizes to be announced. The six awards will be handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.

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