The annual Nobel Laureate Award for Literature will not be given this year as organizers have announced a postponement following allegations of sex scandal linked to the Swedish Academy’s Jean-Claude Arnault.
The Swedish Academy said it took the decision “in view of the currently diminished academy and the reduced public confidence in the academy”.
Arnault, husband of Swedish Academy member Katarina Frostenson, is facing multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment leading to a global online campaign, #MeToo.
In 2017, Svenska Dagbladet, a Swedish newspaper, had published the accounts of 18 women claiming to have been harassed by Arnault.
The dailies also reported that Arnault sexually touched Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria, 12 years ago, naming eyewitnesses.
Although Arnault denied all the allegations, the academy banned him from attending any Nobel events.
The furore generated by the scandal had earlier led to the stepping down of Katrina from the membership of Swedish Academy.
Anders Olsson, interim Permanent Secretary, announced that the Academy would be working on regaining public confidence before announcing the next laureate.
“The active members of the Swedish Academy are of course fully aware that the present crisis of confidence places high demands on a long-term and robust work for change,” he said.
“We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the academy before the next laureate can be announced. This is out of respect for previous and future literature laureates, the Nobel Foundation, and the general public.”
This is the first time since 1949 that the secretive jury that hands out the world’s most prestigious literary award will not unveil a winner in autumn. Instead, it will reveal two winners in 2019.
English novelist and screenwriter Kazuo Ishiguro (born in Nagasaki, Japan, but his family relocated to England when he was five) won the prize in 2017 for "uncovering the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world" in "novels of great emotional force".