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2018 Nobel Prize in Literature cancelled due to sexual assault scandal

The Swedish Academy will not award the Nobel Prize in Literature this year, and will instead choose two laureates in 2019, reports the Guardian.

The Swedish Academy has attracted controversy after 18 women levelled sexual assault allegations against French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, who is married to Academy member Katarina Frostenson.

Three members of the 18-strong jury in charge of choosing the laureate for literature stepped down in April in protest over the decision to not expel Frostenson after the allegations against Arnault were made public. Permanent secretary of the academy, Sara Danius, resigned on 12 April as did Frostenson, after a three-hour meeting.

The photographer was also accused of leaking the names of former Nobel winners, and denies both claims.

With only 10 active members left on the 18-person jury, the Academy said it needs to ‘commit time to recovering public confidence’ before announcing a new laureate.

Anders Olsson, interim permanent secretary, said, ‘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 is out of respect for previous and future literature laureates, the Nobel Foundation, and the general public.’

The Academy said it will also spend the next year rebuilding its membership, ‘modernising’ its statutes and tightening guidelines ‘regarding conflict-of-interest issues and the management of information classified as secret’.

While the Nobel Prize in Literature has not been awarded on seven occasions, and has previously been ‘reserved’ due to a lack of suitable winners, this is the first time since 1949 a winner will not be announced. Chairman of the Nobel Foundation board Carl-Henrik Heldin said this postponement will not impact the awarding of the 2018 Nobel prizes in other categories.


Category: International news