May 24, 2018

No literature Nobel this year after sexual assault allegations rock Swedish Academy

14 May 2018, 06:30 | Franklin Nunez

Nobel Prize for Literature postponed after sex abuse allegations

The Swedish Academy announces today if it gives the Nobel prize of literature after the scandal of sexual abuse

The Nobel Prize in literature will not be awarded this year following sex-abuse allegations and other issues that have affected the public image of the Swedish Academy that selects the victor. It was reported by the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter in November of a year ago that 18 women alleged sexual harassment and physical abuse by Arnault over a two-decade period; later, allegations of a conflict-of-interest over a literary club he and Frostenson ran, and of leaking names of prior Nobel laureates, swelled.

At the centre of this literary maelstrom - and it is a maelstrom, the academy has postponed this year's Nobel Prize in Literature - is French photographer and culture czar Jean-Claude Arnault.

The Nobel Foundation, which oversees all the Nobel prizes, acknowledged the crisis had tarnished the wider organization and welcomed the Swedish Academy's announcement.

Heldin says the academy's decision underscores the seriousness of the situation and will help safeguard the long-term reputation of the Nobel Prize.

"None of this impacts the awarding of the 2018 Nobel Prizes in other prize categories". After Katarina Frostenson, Arnault's wife, was removed from the institution's committee in response to the allegations, a number of other members vowed to give up their active memberships, even though they are not allowed to resign.

What followed was a wave of resignations, including Ms Frostenson and the head of the academy, Prof Sara Danius. Some members also quit over Frostenson staying on board, per the Times.

Yet now we have writer, journalist and academy member Per Wästberg describing the scandal as "a stain on the Academy's reputation which can not be cleaned off", and Bjorn Wiman, culture editor at Dagens Nyheter, stating "the public's trust for the academy is perhaps below rock bottom..."

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Two prizes for literature will be announced next year, one for 2018 and one for 2019.

Last year, 18 women accused Arnault of having committed sexual assaults or harassing them, often on the property of the Swedish Academy.

The scandal is the biggest to hit the prize since it was first awarded in 1901.

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.

A debate over how to face up to its flaws also divided its 18 members who are appointed for life, into hostile camps and prompted seven members of the prestigious institution to leave or disassociate themselves from the group. "The crisis in the Swedish Academy has adversely affected the Nobel Prize". The prize was postponed on seven previous occasions, six of which occurred during World War I and II.

The 2017 victor was Kazuo Ishiguro, the Japanese-born British author of "The Remains of the Day" and "Never Let Me Go". 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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