The Swedish panel, responsible for awarding the Noble Prize in Literature, decided to skip naming a laureate this year because of the public outrage over the sexual abuse scandal
This year, we are not going to have a laureate in Literature, and not because of a shortage of writers; the decision became official after the Swedish panel decided that the public outrage that have engulfed over a sexual abuse scandal is too serious to not be taken into consideration.
Moreover, the Academy declared that it will postpone the 2018 award until next year, when not one, but two winners will be named. This makes it the first year since World War 2 when the panel decides not to bestow one of the most appreciated cultural honors. However, it is important to understand that the Swedish Academy is involved in the literature award only, which means that other Nobel Prizes are not affected by the decision.
Can Nobel Prizes be Postponed?
Even though the Nobel Prizes are aimed to be awarded annually, they can be postponed or even skipped “when a situation in a prize-awarding institution arises that is so serious that a prize decision will not be perceived as credible,” according to Carl-Henrik Heldin, chairman of the Nobel Foundation.
“The crisis in the Swedish Academy has adversely affected the Nobel Prize. Their decision underscores the seriousness of the situation and will help safeguard the long-term reputation of the Nobel Prize.”
In an email, Peter Englund, member of the academy, wrote: “I think this was a wise decision, considering both the inner turmoil of the Academy and the subsequent bloodletting of people and competence, and the general standing of the prize. Who would really care to accept this award under the current circumstances?”
The announcement that we won’t have a Literature Nobel Prize this year is one of the latest in a series of blows to the academy that have drawn worldwide attention due to the fact that they took place in the glare of the #MeToo movement.