Nobel prize for literature shelved after sex assault scandal

Nobel Prize in jeopardy over sex scandal

The academy says it needs time to regain confidence and implement organizational reforms before the next victor is announced.

In a press release, the academy mentioned the choice "was arrived at in view of the at present diminished Academy and the lowered public confidence within the Academy".

The Nobel Foundation supported the Academy's decision, saying an exemption from awarding the prize - widely considered the world's most prestigious in the field of literature - is justified when a situation in an awarding institution is "so serious that a prize decision will not be perceived as credible".

No worthy victor was present in 1935. Some of these shocking incidents reportedly happened at the academy's properties in Stockholm and Paris.

Meanwhile, his lawyer Bjorn Hurtig, in a statement has said that his client claims that the allegations are completely false.

The Academy was also hit with several allegations of conflict of interest and suspicions of leaking Nobel Prize winners' names, issues which led to a rift in the committee.

Ebba Witt-Brattstroem, the former wife of Horace Engdahl, the Academy's Permanent Secretary from 1999 to 2009 and now a member of the Nobel Committee for Literature, had also cast doubt on the claim that its members were largely unaware of Arnault's alleged misconduct.

Only 11 members are now in place. One member has been inactive since 1989 when the Academy refused to condemn a fatwa against Salman Rushdie following the publication of his novel "The Satanic Verses". That has left the group with 10 active members, which are not enough, under its rules, to elect new members.

What did the academy say? Instead, it will reveal two winners in 2019. According to the academy's statutes: "If none of the works under consideration is found to be of the importance indicated in the first paragraph, the prize money shall be reserved until the following year". For example, no prize was awarded in 1936, but the prize for that year was awarded a year later to American playwright Eugene O'Neill.

The decision was made in light of a sexual assault and financial scandal that is now gripping the Academy. It would have been hard for potential winners to accept the prize with the academy in such turmoil. As a result, it was the Swedish Academy, which oversees the Nobel Prize in literature prize, and not the Nobel Foundation itself, that made the decision to not announce a prize victor this year.

"We have decided not to award a prize after long and intense discussions". The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences oversees Physics, Chemistry and Economics. He added the academy was acting "out of respect for previous and future literature laureates, the Nobel Foundation and the general public".

Literature has been awarded annually since 1901, save for six years during world wars and 1935.

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