Nobel Literature Prize For 2018 In Doubt After Sexual Assault Allegations
The Swedish Academy has been plunged into crisis over allegations of rape and sexual assault by the husband of one its members, and may therefore be forced to postpone the 2018 Nobel Literature Prize.
We’re thinking about it. We’ll let you know soon,” said Anders Olsson, the Academy’s interim permanent secretary.
According to Swedish Radio, several members of the Academy have suggested reserving this year’s prize, and awarding it alongside the 2019 prize next year. “Given the situation the Academy currently finds itself in, and given the best interests of the prize, it might be best to postpone it for a year,” said Peter Englund.
The scandal centres on allegations by 18 women in November – in the wake of the #MeToo campaign, that they had been subject to sexual harassment and assault by Jean-Claude Arnault, the French husband of Academy member and poet Katarina Frostenson Arnault who denies the allegations.
After the women spoke out in the media, the Academy cut all ties with Arnault’s cultural club Forum in Stockholm, which it had subsidised for years and which was a key meeting point for the country’s cultural elite.
But the affair divided the Academy, with disagreement on how to draw a line under the row, and on what measures to take after a report it commissioned revealed conflicts of interest and the fact that Academy members leaked Nobel winners’ names.
The scandal has dragged the Academy’s reputation through the mud. “This is devastating for the reputation of the Nobel prize,” Mattias Berg, who covers cultural affairs for SR radio stated
The Nobel Literature Prize has been reserved on seven occasions since it was first awarded in 1901: in 1914, 1918, 1935, 1940, 1941, 1942 and 1943.