No Nobel Prize for 2018
Friday, May 4th, 2018
The Swedish Academy, which administers the Nobel Prize, has announced that they will not award a Nobel Prize in literature in 2018.
The decision is the result of turmoil within the academy itself. One of its members, Katarina Frostenson, is married to the French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, against whom 18 women have leveled accusations of assault. Arnault also has other close ties to the academy, including co-owning (with Frostenson) a cultural center funded in part by the Swedish Academy. The allegations spurred both public outrage and infighting amongst academy members. Some argued that all ties with Arnault should be severed, including requesting that Frostenson step down. Several academy members even resigned their positions, an unprecendented step as members are appointed by the King of Sweden to serve for life.
With tensions running high, the academy made the decision to postpone awarding one of literature's highest honors rather than risk the decision being similarly mired in controversy. Instead, two prizes, one for 2018 and one for 2019, will be announced next year.
The delayed announcement is not without precedent, but this does mark the first such decision since World War II. In its 117 year history, 114 writers have been awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. A selection of works by past winners are listed below.