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Nobel Literature Prize postponed after scandal hits Swedish Academy

This year’s Nobel Prize for Literature has been postponed to next year after a scandal hit the Swedish organization that chooses the winner. 

The Swedish Academy said winners of this year and next year will be announced together.

“The Swedish Academy intends to decide on and announce the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2018 in parallel with the naming of the 2019 laureate,” the secretive scandal-hit academy announced in a statement on its website on Friday.

The scandal is the biggest to hit the organization since it awarded its first prize in 1901.

What triggered the scandal?

The scandal started after French-Swedish former photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, who is the husband of Swedish academy member Katarina Frostenson, was accused by 18 women of sexual harassment, some on properties belonging to the academy.

 

Arnault, who denies all charges against him, was later also accused of using his clout to leak names of Nobel laureates days before the academy would make its official announcements.

The scandal unveiled issues in the jury prompting several members to resign, leaving  only 11 members of the 18-member academy in place.

This is while the academy’s statutes require a quorum of 12 in order to give the body jurisdiction.

The Swedish king Carl XVI Gustaf announced he would change the academy’s statutes, allowing new members to join in to replace the old members who were appointed for life.

“Given the situation the academy currently finds itself in, and given the best interests of the prize, it might be best to postpone it for a year,” said Peter Englund, an academy member.

This is not the first time the Nobel prize is being postponed.

On five occasions the prize was postponed for a year.

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