Nobel prize in literature 2018 cancelled after sexual assault scandal

From The Guardian:

Riven by infighting and resignations following allegations of sexual misconduct, financial malpractice and repeated leaks, the Swedish Academy has said no Nobel prize for literature will be awarded this year.

For the first time since 1949, the secretive jury that hands out the world’s most prestigious literary prize will not unveil a winner this autumn, instead revealing two laureates in 2019, it 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 body, founded by King Gustav III in 1786 and still under royal patronage, said in a statement.

“We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence … before the next laureate can be announced,” its interim permanent secretary Anders Olsson said. “This is out of respect for previous and future literature laureates, the Nobel Foundation and the general public.”

At the root of the institution’s unprecedented crisis are a raft of wide-ranging allegations against Jean-Claude Arnault, a photographer and leading cultural figure in Sweden, who is married to Katarina Frostenson, an academy member and author.

Last November, the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter published detailed allegations by 18 women accusing Arnault of sexual harassment and physical abuse over a period of more than 20 years, in France and Sweden and including at properties owned by the academy.

. . . .

The decision to postpone the 2018 award was broadly welcomed. “I think it’s wise; this is the best decision they could make,” said Dagens Nyheter’s literature critic, Maria Schottenius. “They’ll have a chance to restore the institution this year and fill the empty seats, and come back with a strong academy that can award the prize.”

One academy member, Göran Malmqvist, told Sweden’s TT news agency that the body was in crisis and would take time to rebuild. But Jens Liljestrand of the Expressen newspaper told TT it was “a disaster for the Swedish Academy’s reputation … that they didn’t manage to handle this better”.

Link to the rest at The Guardian

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