Nobel Prize for Literature Hit by Sexual Scandal, Award Postponed

Published May 6th, 2018 - 11:55 GMT
The main entrance to the Nobel Museum in central Stockholm  (Shutterstock/File Photo)
The main entrance to the Nobel Museum in central Stockholm (Shutterstock/File Photo)

Nobel Prize for Literature will not be awarded this year amid a sexual assault scandal, the organization that gives the award announced on Friday.

“The present decision was arrived at in view of the currently diminished Academy and the reduced public confidence in the Academy,” the Swedish Academy said in a statement after it was hit by sexual assault allegations and the resignations of a number of its members.

Nobel Prize in Literature for 2018 will be announced in parallel with the 2019’s laureate, the statement added.

The academy has previously postponed the prize announcement for seven times -- six of which were during World War I and II -- and on five of those occasions the prize was awarded the following year, according to the statement.

“Work on the selection of a laureate is at an advanced stage and will continue as usual in the months ahead but the Academy needs time to regain its full complement, engage a larger number of active members and regain confidence in its work, before the next Literature Prize winner is declared,” the statement read.



The statement also quoted academy’s interim permanent secretary, Anders Olsson: "The active members of the Swedish Academy are of course fully aware that the present crisis of confidence places high demands on a long-term and robust work for change.

"We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the Academy before the next laureate can be announced. This, out of respect for previous and future literature laureates, the Nobel Foundation, and the general public.”

The postponement of the literature prize will not affect the other Nobel prizes, the academy said.

The scandal that tainted the prestigious academy erupted after a string of media reports accused Jean-Claude Arnault -- a well-known French photographer and husband of academy member and poet Katarina Frostenson -- of multiple sexual misconducts against 19 women including Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria and other members of the academy, their wives and daughters.

Arnault has denied allegations.

On April 6, three members of the Academy including Peter Englund, Klas Ostergren, and Kjell Espmark, resigned from the 18-seat-committee, which meant to be for life, over the handling of the allegations.

Later in April, Sara Danius stepped down as the permanent secretary of the academy. Also, Frostenson announced her resignation from the cultural institution. On April 28, Sara Stridsberg left the institution.

The Nobel Literature Prize has been given by the Swedish Academy since 1901 and considered as one of the most prestigious awards in the world.

The last time the award was postponed was in 1943 during the World War II.

Reporting by Atila Altuntas and Emre Aytekin:Writing by Handan Kazanci


This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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