No­bel lit­er­a­ture award body asks scan­dal-hit mem­ber to quit

Oman Daily Observer - - EUROPE -

STOCK­HOLM: The body that awards the No­bel Prize in Lit­er­a­ture has asked the wife of the man at the cen­tre of a scan­dal to re­sign from the Swedish Academy as it tries to re­build its rep­u­ta­tion, a mem­ber said on Fri­day.

This year’s prize-giv­ing was post­poned af­ter al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct sur­faced against Jean­claude Ar­nault, hus­band of academy mem­ber Kata­rina Frosten­son, and the academy’s dis­cov­ery that the names of some prize-win­ners had been leaked prompted sev­eral mem­bers to re­sign or with­draw from work.

Ar­nault was sen­tenced this month to two years in prison for rape. He de­nied all ac­cu­sa­tions and is ap­peal­ing the ver­dict. Last month, the head of the No­bel Foun­da­tion said it could stop the academy award­ing the lit­er­a­ture prize if it did not make fur­ther changes in the wake of the scan­dal.

“The academy has unan­i­mously agreed to a res­o­lu­tion beg­ging (Frosten­son) to vol­un­tar­ily with­draw from the academy,” its Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary An­ders Ols­son said on Fri­day. “If this should not oc­cur, we will start a new, im­par­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Frosten­son’s al­leged trans­gres­sions of our stat­ues, giv­ing her a fair chance to de­fend her cause... This is the sec­ond part of the res­o­lu­tion,” he said.

Ols­son said the academy’s pre­vi­ous in­ves­ti­ga­tion had been un­sat­is­fac­tory and had sev­eral short­com­ings, in­clud­ing that Frosten­son was never part of the in­quiry and that the re­sults had been eval­u­ated too “hastily”.

Swedish me­dia have al­leged that Frosten­son leaked the names of lit­er­a­ture prize-win­ners — the sub­ject of heavy bet­ting — to Ar­nault be­fore they were an­nounced.

There have been pre­vi­ous calls for Frosten­son, who has been re­frain­ing from par­tic­i­pat­ing in academy tasks, to re­sign, but she has not in­di­cated any in­ten­tion to do so.

Ols­son said that if Frosten­son did not re­sign, the next in­quiry would pri­mar­ily fo­cus on a stricter ap­pli­ca­tion of No­bel rules that re­quire win­ner’s names to be kept se­cret be­fore they are for­mally an­nounced.

“Since Ar­nault has abused in­for­ma­tion for his own ben­e­fit about can­di­dates for the prize, Frosten­son is ac­cord­ing to the new rad­i­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tion of (Swedish Academy) statutes re­spon­si­ble for his ac­tions as if she com­mit­ted them her­self,” said Ols­son. Last week, the academy named two new mem­bers.

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