The Swedish Academy, which organises the Nobel Prize in Literature, has announced that this year’s Nobel Prize will not be awarded until next year due to a “crisis” that has damaged public confidence in the academy.
The 18 member academy has been hit by sexual harassment allegations that have seen some members “resign”.
“The present decision was arrived at in view of the currently diminished academy and the reduced public confidence in the Academy,” the academy’s press release read.
Swedish Academy members and authors Peter Englund, Klas Ostergren and Kjell Espmark resigned in protest over the handling of allegations of sexual misconduct raised against a husband to another member (poet Katarina Frostenson).
The accused, Jean-Claude Arnault has been indicted for sexually assaulting 18 women between 1996 and 2017.
The allegations came in the wake of the #MeTooMovement occasioned by the sexual harassment claims raised in Hollywood against Harvey Weinstein.
Arnault is also accused of leaking confidential information about the Nobel Prize committee on several occasions since 1996.
“We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the academy before the next laureate can be announced.” The committee’s permanent secretary, Anders Olsson said.
Members for life
The Swedish Academy, referred to as “De Aderton” (the eighteen) for its 18-member seats, was founded in 1786 by King Gustav III on the model of the Académie Française with the aim of promoting the Swedish language and literature.
The Academy has awarded the Nobel Prize in literature since 1901 and its members are appointed for life.