2018 Nobel Prize for Literature scrapped amid Swedish Academy scandal; deferred to 2019

The Swedish Academy says the Nobel Prize in Literature will be not awarded this year following sex-abuse allegations and other issues within its ranks that have tarnished the body's reputation.

The Academy (which picks the winners every year) said on Friday, 4 May, that the 2018 prize will be given in 2019. The decision was made at a weekly meeting in Stockholm on the grounds that the Academy is in no shape to pick a winner after a string of sex abuse allegations and financial crimes scandals.

A statement said the decision "was arrived at in view of the currently diminished Academy and the reduced public confidence in the Academy."

 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature scrapped amid Swedish Academy scandal; deferred to 2019

Kazuo Ishiguro poses with his 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature, flanked by his wife Lorna MacDougall and daughter Naomi Ishiguro. Reuters/File Photo

On 26 April 2018, the Academy members had convened to discuss if the Literature Nobel for 2018 should be scrapped in light of the ongoing controversies, and announced that a decision would be taken by 3 May.

Previously, the Nobel Prize in Literature was not handed out in 1914, 1918, 1935, and during the years 1940 to 1943.

The controversy first reared its head when 18 women spoke with a Swedish newspaper about being sexually harassed by photographer Jean-Claude Arnault. Arnault is married to Swedish Academy member and poet Katarina Frostenson.

The Academy had also subsidised for several years, a cultural club run by Arnault in Stockholm. There were further allegations that Arnault had leaked the names of Nobel Prize winners — the focus of intense betting — before the official announcement.

Several members called for Arnault's wife Katarina Frostenson to step down from the Academy after the accusations against her husband surfaced. She was later suspended.

In all, six of the 18 board members of the Academy had stepped down at the height of the crisis, including its secretary Sara Danius.

— With inputs from AP

Updated Date: May 04, 2018 13:23:22 IST