The Nobel Prize in Literature will be awarded twice this year after the Swedish Academy postponed 2018’s event over a sexual assault scandal.
In a statement released today (5th March) the Nobel Foundation said it would award Laureates for 2018 and 2019 this autumn.
Last year’s event was axed after accusations of sexual assault against photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of Swedish Academy member Katarina Frostenson. Arnault was convicted of rape in October and sent to prison for two years.
The fallout from the initial allegations led to nearly half the 18-member academy resigning their posts.
In its statement, the foundation said it was now taking steps aimed at “restoring trust in the academy as a prize-awarding institution”.
Under the changes, the Academy will no longer have any members who are subject to conflict of interest or criminal investigations. It will also include five independent external members to help select the Nobel Laureates.
Consideration is also being given to time-limited membership of the Academy and how to handle any expulsions in the future. Previously, members were appointed for life and were unable to resign.
The foundation said: “Overall, during the past year the Swedish Academy has taken a number of important steps to deal with the problems that arose late in 2017, and more are planned. Although it will take time to fully restore confidence, the Board of the Nobel Foundation believes that the prerequisites for this are now good. Given the reforms that have been implemented and planned, the Swedish Academy has the opportunity not only to put the past year behind it, but also to become a better-functioning organisation in the future.”
The last winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017 was Kazuo Ishiguro.
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