2018 Nobel Prize in Literature Postponed

May 7, 2018

For the first time since 1949, the jury for the Swedish Academy that selects the annual winner of the world’s most prestigious literary honor will not award a Nobel Prize this year. Instead, the jury will award two Nobel Prizes in 2019.

Nobel PrizeThe announcement, which was made on May 4, comes after allegations of sexual misconduct have resulted in a series of resignations from the Academy, too many resignations for the body to select an awardee, according to its rules. In November, 18 women accused Jean-Claude Arnault, a photographer and the spouse of Katarina Frostenson, a member of the Swedish Academy, of using his prominence in the arts for the purpose of coercing women into sexual encounters. Mr. Arnault has denied these allegations.

In a statement, the chairman of the Nobel Foundation, said “The crisis in the Swedish Academy has adversely affected the Nobel Prize. Their decision underscores the seriousness of the situation and will help safeguard the long-term reputation of the Nobel Prize.”

“We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence ... before the next laureate can be announced,” said the Academy’s interim permanent secretary Anders Olsson. “This is out of respect for previous and future literature laureates, the Nobel Foundation and the general public.”

To many observers, like Björn Wiman, culture editor of Dagens Nyheter, which first reported on the allegations against Mr. Arnault, not awarding the Nobel in literature this year is the right thing to do. “This is a sensational piece of news. But it was the only possible decision,” he said on Radio Sweden. “It wasn’t possible under these conditions to appoint a winner. It would have been an insult to anyone who received it.”


Image Credit: Yomiuri / AP file

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