(Newswire.net — May 8, 2018) — The Swedish Academy, which decides on the Nobel Prize for Literature, said it will skip nominations this year, due to a sexual and financial scandal that compromised the secrecy surrounding the event.
The biggest scandal since the first prize for literature was awarded in 1901, resulted in the resignation of several members of the Academy, the president along with four other members as it was revealed a man connected with the Academy sexually abused 18 woman. The man being accused is Jean-Claude Arnault, whose wife is a member of the Swedish Academy.
The two own a prestigious cultural club in Stockholm which is financed by the Academy. The sex scandal revealed the “financial irregularities” in financing the club.
Investigation lead to information that the Nobel’s strict secrecy rules had been broken. Allegedly, Arnault repeatedly leaked the names of winners, before the prize was announced each year.
Some members of the Academy claim that the prize should be awarded in order to protect the tradition, but others believe that the institution’s “good name” is at stake and the only right way is to skip this year’s Literature nominee announcement.
Arnault himself denies the allegations.
Currently the Academy has only 11 members, of whom one member, writer Kerstin Ekman, has been inactive since 1989, when the academy refused to condemn the ‘fatwa’ – Islamic public condemnation, issued against Nobel Prize winner Salman Rushdie.
According to the Articles of Association, at least 12 members are required for any decision, including the one for new members. Technically, all members are appointed for a lifelong membership to the Swedish Academy and cannot resign, but they can refuse to participate in the work of the Academy. King Carl Gustaf XVI, who heads the Academy, said he would change the rules so that individuals could officially resign.
The Academy also announced that this year’s laureate would be nominated before publishing the name of the next winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. So, the two awards for literature will be published next year, for 2018 and 2019.
Nevertheless, this is the biggest scandal since the award for Literature Prize has been established in 1901. During the Second World War, the Literature Prize was not awarded, and in 1935, members of the Academy considered that nobody deserved this prize.