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    Nobel No-Shows: A Look at Prize Winners Who Didn't Attend the Award Ceremony

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    US music legend Bob Dylan refused to attend the 2016 Nobel Prize Award Ceremony on December 10, prompting Sputnik to take a look at some other Nobel Prize winners who didn't arrive in Stockholm to receive their awards at the Nobel Prize Gala in previous years.

    On November 16, 2016, the Swedish Academy, which hands out the Nobel Prize in Literature, reported that they received a letter of refusal from Dylan, who explained that he would be unable to attend the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony slated for December 10 because of schedule conflicts and pre-existing commitments.

    "He underscored, once again, that he indeed feels much honored and wished that he could receive the prize in person," the Swedish Academy reported.

    US singer Bob Dylan. File photo
    © AFP 2019 / KEVIN WINTER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA
    US singer Bob Dylan. File photo

    "The prize still belongs to Bob Dylan," the academy noted, adding that the only requirement is that he give the traditional Nobel Lecture within six months from December 10. The lecture does not have to take place in Sweden.

    In 1935, German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in exposing Germany's clandestine rearmament. Hitler tried to put pressure on the Nobel Committee and the King of Sweden to reconsider the decision, but to no avail.

    A bust of Swedish industrialist and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel is pictured on the stage of Stockholm Concert Hall prior to the 2015 Nobel prize award ceremony on December 10, 2015
    © AFP 2019 / Claudio Bresciani / TT NEWS AGENCY
    A bust of Swedish industrialist and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel is pictured on the stage of Stockholm Concert Hall prior to the 2015 Nobel prize award ceremony on December 10, 2015

    After Hitler banned residents of the Third Reich from getting the Nobel Prize in 1937, chemists Richard Kuhn and Adolf Butenandt as well as physiologist Gerhard Domagk, whose achievements were touted by the Nobel Committee between 1938 and 1939, did not attend the award ceremony.

    They only managed to do so after the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945.

    In 1958, Soviet dissident poet Boris Pasternak refused the Nobel Prize he was awarded for his novel "Doctor Zhivago" after the wave of criticism it stirred in his home country. The Nobel medal was first awarded to Pasternak's son in 1989.

    Boris Pasternak. File photo
    © Sputnik /
    Boris Pasternak. File photo

    French philosopher and existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre remains so far the most renowned "conscientious objector" in Nobel Prize history.

    In 1964, Sartre declined the Nobel Prize, stating that a writer must refuse "being transformed into an institution, even if it happens in the most honorable form" and remained loyal to his beliefs.

    French author Jean-Paul Sartre in Moscow. File photo
    © Sputnik / Mikhail Ozerskiy
    French author Jean-Paul Sartre in Moscow. File photo

    Soviet dissident writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature, refused to attend the Nobel Gala and refused the award altogether, yet reconsidered the decision and accepted the award in 1974 after leaving the Soviet Union.

    Natalya Solzhenitsyna and Alexander Solzhenitsyn visit Vladivostok. File photo
    © Sputnik / A. Natruskin
    Natalya Solzhenitsyna and Alexander Solzhenitsyn visit Vladivostok. File photo

    In 2004, Austrian playwright and novelist Elfriede Jelinek was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for her "musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that, with extraordinary linguistic zeal, reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power."

    This year's Nobel Prize winner in literature Austrian Elfriede Jelinek (on screen) appears in a videotaped prize lecture at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm 07 December, 2004
    © AFP 2019 / JONAS EKSTROMER
    This year's Nobel Prize winner in literature Austrian Elfriede Jelinek (on screen) appears in a videotaped prize lecture at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm 07 December, 2004

    However, she declined to attend the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony, citing her suffering from agoraphobia and social phobia. Jelinek said that she felt very happy to receive the Nobel Prize, but felt "despair for becoming a known, a person of the public."

    The will of the Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the international awards in 1895. The prizes in Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine were first awarded in 1901.

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    Tags:
    award ceremony, decision, pressure, criticism, Nobel Prize, Elfriede Jelinek, Jean-Paul Sartre, Bob Dylan, Boris Pasternak, Alexander Solzhenitsyn
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