Nobel Prize for Literature postponed after sex abuse allegations
14 May, 2018, 06:26
The internal feud within the Swedish Academy, which only hands out one of the six Nobel prizes, was triggered by an abuse scandal linked to Jean-Claude Arnault, a major cultural figure in Sweden who is also the husband of poet Katarina Frostenson - an academy member.
The 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature has been postponed due to a sexual misconduct and financial scandal that has rocked the institution that traditionally organizes the award.
For the first time since World War II - an event which, understandably, shook the continuity of most European institutions - there will be no Nobel Prize in Literature awarded this year. U.S. author William Faulkner received his award in 1950, one of five occasions when the prize was awarded at the same time as the following year's prize. However, this year's other Nobel Prizes will be awarded as usual.
Arnault, a French photographer who has attended many Swedish Academy events, faces multiple claims of sexual assault and harassment, first reported in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter late previous year. Several of the alleged incidents were reported to have happened in properties belonging to the academy. Arnault has denied the allegations. In light of the allegations, Sara Danius, the academy's permanent secretary, swiftly cut ties with Forum and hired a law firm to investigate the academy's relationship with the club.
In order to ensure the venerable body's survival, the academy's patron, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf, announced on Wednesday that he had changed the statutes, making it possible for members to resign and be replaced.
The king "respected" the academy's decision to postpone the award, the palace said on Friday.
A number of members of the academy have left in protest.
The academy's head and Ms Frostenson also subsequently stepped down followed by a sixth member last week. In the wake of the scandal, those involved are scrambling to change the rules, a process made more hard by the fact that, with only 10 active members, the Academy is one short of the 12-member quorum required to elect new members to vacant seats.
As the scandal unfolded, the Swedish Academy also disclosed that an investigation had shown the names of some prize winners - the subject of lively betting - had been leaked.
The announcement that there will be no 2018 prize is the latest in a series of blows to the academy that, occurring in the glare of the #MeToo movement, have drawn worldwide attention.
Two prizes for literature will be announced next year, one for 2018 and one for 2019.
It marks the first time since 1943 that the prize has not been handed out. "We have decided not to award a prize after long and intense discussions".
Heldin says the academy's decision underscores the seriousness of the situation and will help safeguard the long-term reputation of the Nobel Prize. American playwright Eugene O'Neill was awarded the 1936 prize a year later, in 1937, at the same time as that year's victor received his prize.
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