Nobel literature prize postponed over sexual abuse scandal

Nobel literature prize postponed over sexual abuse scandal

Nobel literature prize postponed over sexual abuse scandal

The organisation that decides the Nobel Prize for Literature has said it will not announce an award this year, after it was engulfed in a scandal over sexual assault allegations.

A string of sexual harassment accusations were made against the 71-year old as part of the #metoo campaign and there accusations that members of the academy were aware of the concerns and didn't report them.

The Academy said the decision was made "in view of the now diminished Academy and the reduced public confidence in the Academy".

The Nobel Foundation, which administers the estate of dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel, said the crisis at the Academy had "adversely affected" the Nobel Prize.

It's expected the victor of this year's Literature Prize will be announced in parallel with the 2019 laureate. USA 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. Mr Arnault denies the allegations.

Some academy members had argued that the prize should proceed to protect the tradition, but others said the institution was in no state to present the award. However, Ms Frostenson and the head of the prestigious academy, Prof Sara Danius resigned mid-April due to the controversial allegations and the scandals which have hit the secretive academy.

"In principle, the Nobel Prize shall be awarded every year, but decisions on Nobel Prizes have been postponed on a number of occasions during the history of the prizes".

The decision of the academy "underscores the seriousness of the situation and will help safeguard the long-term reputation of the Nobel Prize".

It urged the academy to "put all its efforts into the task of restoring its credibility as a prize-awarding institution" and said members should realize that its reform efforts "must be characterized by greater openness towards the outside world".

The Swedish Academy said that sex abuse allegations and other issues within its ranks had "tarnished" the body's reputation.

The Academy provided financial support for a cultural club run by Arnault and Frostenson.

Though the Academy has courted controversy in the past, for example by awarding the 2016 prize to American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, debate has usually focused on literary merit rather than the institution itself.

When the prize was founded, it seemed entirely possible that the entirety of world literature could be judged from Stockholm by scholars who could all read fluently in the four or five European languages they considered civilised.

Meanwhile, Sweden's Economic Crimes Bureau last week said it was investigating a case linked to the Academy, likely linked to the subsidies paid to Arnault.

The Nobel Prize for literature is among the world's most prominent, universally accepted and lucrative cultural honours (winners receive approximately $1.3 million Cdn). Tied in second place are the United States and Britain with 12 laureates each, including last year's victor, Japanese-born British author Kazuo Ishiguro, author of "Remains of the Day" and "Never Let Me Go".

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