Sweden's Nobel academy will skip the literature prize this year amid a sexual misconduct scandal
The Swedish Academy announced Friday that it will not award the Nobel Prize in literature this year, but rather announce the 2018 winner next year, "in parallel with the naming of the 2019 laureate," citing a desire to "safeguard the long-term reputation of the Nobel Prize" amid a sexual harassment scandal that has thrown the literature academy into chaos. "The crisis in the Swedish Academy has adversely affected the Nobel Prize," the academy said in a statement. "Their decision underscores the seriousness of the situation." The 18-member committee, minus the seven who have suspended their lifetime membership, made the decision in a meeting Thursday.
The scandal centers around photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, a major Swedish cultural figure who is accused of sexually assaulting or harassing 18 women, leaking the name of at least seven laureates, and, Sweden's Svenska Dagbladet newspaper reported last Saturday, groping Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria in 2006. Arnault, who denies the allegations, is married to poet Katarina Frostenson, a member of the academy who was removed after the 18 allegations of sexual misconduct, many tied to the Swedish Academy building, surfaced last November. The secretive academy has faced criticism for its handling of the allegations.
The academy has refrained from handing out a literature Nobel just seven other times, the last being in 1943, due to world wars and, in 1935, because no writer was deemed worthy. It said Friday that the other 2018 Nobels will be handed out as normal.