Out­siders, academy to pick No­bel Lit­er­a­ture win­ners

The Standard Journal - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Jan M. Olsen

COPEN­HAGEN, Den­mark — Only half of those who choose the win­ners of next year’s No­bel Prize in lit­er­a­ture will be mem­bers of the scan­dal-rocked Swedish Academy that has al­ways pre­vi­ously awarded the prize, the pres­ti­gious body said at the start of last week.

Two authors, two crit­ics and one trans­la­tor — all Swedish — will join five mem­bers of the academy in pick­ing the win­ners next year — in­clud­ing the 2019 and the de­layed 2018 lit­er­a­ture prizes — and in 2020.

The de­ci­sion to build “a new No­bel com­mit­tee” was taken “in con­sul­ta­tion with the No­bel Foun­da­tion,” An­ders Ols­son, the per­ma­nent sec­re­tary of the Swedish Academy, said in a state­ment.

“What I un­der­stand is we run through (the names of) the prize nom­i­nees and dis­cuss it. But I do not know ex­actly how it will go. We’ll see,” Re­becka Karde, a lit­er­ary critic and one of those se­lected, told Swedish broad­caster SVT be­fore the an­nounce­ment.

The No­bel Foun­da­tion ear­lier had warned the academy that if it doesn’t re­solve its tar­nished im­age, it could be de­cided that an­other group would be a bet­ter host.

A year ago, 18 women came for­ward in a Swedish news­pa­per with abuse ac­cu­sa­tions against Jean-Claude Ar­nault, the hus­band of a then-mem­ber of the academy.

Ar­nault has since been con­victed of rape, and the academy in April found that “un­ac­cept­able be­hav­ior in the form of un­wanted in­ti­macy” had taken place within the ranks of the pres­ti­gious in­sti­tu­tion.

A fierce in­ter­nal de­bate over how to face up to the academy’s flaws in re­spond­ing to both sex­ual and fi­nan­cial crimes al­le­ga­tions di­vided its 18 mem­bers — who are ap­pointed for life — into hos­tile camps, which has led to ac­cu­sa­tions of pa­tri­ar­chal lean­ings among some academy mem­bers.

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