Bob Dylan has said that it is "truly beyond words" to have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
A speech was read on his behalf at the prize ceremony in Sweden on Saturday (10th December), which he did not attend in person.
It read: "I'm sorry I can't be with you in person, but please know that I am most definitely with you in spirit and honoured to be receiving such a prestigious prize. Being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature is something I never could have imagined or seen coming."
Dylan spoke of how he felt it was "truly beyond words" to be honoured alongside such "giants of literature" as Rudyard Kipling, George Bernard Shaw and Pearl Buck.
It took the singer "more than a few minutes to properly process" the news that he had won when it was announced in October, and had started him thinking of "the great literary figure" William Shakespeare, who Dylan believes "thought of himself as a dramatist", Dylan said.
"The thought that he was writing literature couldn't have entered his head," he said. "His words were written for the stage. Meant to be spoken not read."
He added: "Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself 'are my songs literature?' So, I do thank the Swedish Academy, both for taking the time to consider that very question, and, ultimately, for providing such a wonderful answer."
Singer Patti Smith performed Dylan’s song "A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall" at the ceremony.