Published: 2018-05-04 13:25
Last Updated: 2018-05-04 14:13
The Nobel Foundation announced that the Swedish Academy will be postponing the awarding of the 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature until next year. The Foundation asserted it supported the Academy in their decision in a press release issued on Thursday by the Chairman of the Board, Carl-Henrik Heldin.
The delay was decided after the testimonies of 18 women last November accused Jean-Claude Arnault, a man closely associated with the Academy and a husband of one of the members, of sexually assaulting 18 women. His wife, Katarina Frostensson was also scrutinized and subsequently accused of corruption and conflict of interest.
According to Heldin the prize will be awarded in 2019 but he indicated that the Foundation expected the Academy to take concrete actions to restore its credibility in addition to introducing an organizational structure characterized by “greater openness to the outside world.”
The current situation “has adversely affected the Nobel Prize” and “is so serious that a prize decision will not be perceived as credible,” the statement reads.
The academy appoints its 18 members for life and technically they cannot resign. Nevertheless, there have been situations where members become inactive. Since the scandal, six of the members have resigned including Frostensson and the permanent secretary Sara Danius, bringing the number of its active members to 10.
The Academy bylaws indicate that at least 12 members are needed to vote in a new member, which has prompted Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf, who is the patron of the Academy, to agree to change the regulations to allow members to resign and be replaced, according to the Swedish “The local.”
Since its inception in 1907, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded 110 times. A total of seven years have been skipped; three during World War I and four during World War II. Literature is the only category affected by this scandal as the rest of the prizes will be awarded this year.