• Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan (Photo : Swedish Academy)

In a contentious decision -- especially among professional authors -- the Swedish Academy has awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 to Bob Dylan, a non-author who is, however, an extremely famous popular music songwriter and singer.

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Dylan, 75, was conferred the Nobel "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." Dylan is the first American to win the literature prize since Toni Morrison in 1993.

With its decision, the Swedish Academy dramatically redefined the boundaries of literature, igniting a debate about whether song lyrics have the same artistic value as poetry or novels.

It's the first time the world's most prestigious prize in literature has been awarded to a songwriter. And many real authors aren't happy.

Some have criticized the academy for not knowing the difference between writing and songwriting. Some were even more scathing.

Novelists Laila Lalami (The Moor's Account, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 2014) and Rabih Alameddine (Gold Medal Fiction winner for An Unnecessary Woman at the 2014 California Book Awards) were none too happy at the decision.

"Bob Dylan winning a Nobel in Literature is like Mrs. Fields being awarded 3 Michelin stars," wrote Alameddine on Twitter. "This is almost as silly as Winston Churchill."

"I'm a Dylan fan, but this is an ill conceived nostalgia award wrenched from the rancid prostates of senile, gibbering hippies," tweeted the Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh (popular for his novel, Trainspotting that's been made into a movie).

Other authors were more forgiving of the Nobel to Dylan.

Popular horror and fantasy writer Stephen King tweeted he's "ecstatic that Bob Dylan has won the Nobel. A great and good thing in a season of sleaze and sadness."

Novelist Joyce Carol Oates said Dylan was an "inspired & original choice. his haunting music & lyrics have always seemed, in the deepest sense, 'literary'."

The response from the non-writing world, however, has been uniformly enthusiastic.

U.S. President Barack Obama tweeted, "Congratulations to one of my favorite poets, Bob Dylan, on a well-deserved Nobel."

Actor James Woods tweeted, "This is so deserved. He is the poet laureate of my generation."