As the Swedish Academy is facing a huge scandal over its ties to a man accused of rape, this year’s Nobel prize for literature has been canceled.
It is the first time since 1949 that the Swedish panel will not unveil a Nobel laureate for literature. Next year, the Nobel prize for Literature will be handed to two winners, the academy announced.
The academy made the decision in the wake of a sex scandal concerning Jean-Claude Arnault, a photographer married to the academy’s member Katarina Frostenson.
The Swedish Academy argued that it is best to cancel the award because the public’s confidence in the organization was sinking.
We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the academy before the next laureate can be announced,
the Swedish Academy said.
It also added that the decision is a form of respect for all literature laureates and the general public.
The sex scandal emerged last fall when Arnault was accused of sexual assault. Three members of the 18-man panel for literature stepped down because the academy refused to fire the embattled photographer.
The suspect is also accused of leaking the names of several Noble laureates before they were announced. Arnault has vigorously denied all the accusations.
Meanwhile, the public has developed some trust issues with the academy, as several of its members made a series of contradictory claims in the country’s press. The latest academy member to step down was Sara Danius, who has been seen as a scapegoat for Arnault’s misbehavior.
All members of the academy are nominated for life, which means that if a member resigns, their chair remains empty until they are dead.
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