Why is there no Nobel Prize for literature this year?

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No Nobel prize for literature this year

A 72-yr-old Frenchman married to an academy member and who has close ties with the Swedish Academy faces charges of rape

The Hush Post: The 2018 Nobel season opens in the first week of October in Stockholm without the announcement of Literature Prize. This is for the first time in 70 years due to a #MeToo scandal. This year’s Literature Prize will be announced in 2019, when two prizes will be awarded.

72-yr-old Frenchman accused of rape, the epicentre 

What is awaited is the verdict on charges of rape against a 72-yr-old Frenchman Jean-Claude Arnault who has close ties with the Swedish Academy. Arnault is married to an Academy member Katarina Frostenson.

No Nobel prize for literature this year
Frenchman Jean-Claude Arnault with his wife Katarina Frostenson, one of the Academy members.

Arnault faced trial on two counts of raping a woman in 2011. His verdict is due on Monday, and the prosecution has sought a three-year sentence.

Arnault is the head of an influential cultural club in Stockholm which has received Academy funding for years. An internal Academy probe has revealed conflicts of interest between him and the Academy. The Academy has been torn apart on the issue of how to manage its affiliation with Jean-Claude Arnault and the reforms it needs to undertake. Apart from exchanging jibes at each other through the media, the members have not been able to take any remedial measures.

Six of the Academy’s 18 members, who are appointed for life, no longer actively participate in the institution’s work due to the discord. Two others have already stepped aside for other reasons. Without a quorum of 12 and unable to elect new members, the Academy is maintaining status quo.

This is the second postponement in the history of the Noble Academy, first being William Faulkner’s 1949 honour being awarded in 1950.

The Academy had announced in May this year that it would postpone by one year the 2018 Nobel Literature Prize.

Nobel Peace Prize much-awaited

Without the Literature Prize, this year’s other much-awaited high-profile Nobel is the Peace Prize, to be announced in Oslo on October 5. South Korean President Moon Jae-in for his rapprochement efforts with North Korea could be a potential winner. US President Donald Trump’s name too is doing the rounds for his efforts for peace in the Korean peninsula. It’s a guessing game though, rendered more difficult going by the number of candidates, 329 this year for the Peace Prize.

The Medicine Prize will be announced on Monday, Physics on Tuesday and Chemistry on Wednesday. The Economics Prize will wrap things up on next Monday, October 8.

This year, each Nobel comes with a nine million kronor ($1.01-million, 870,000-euro) prize sum, to be shared if several laureates are honoured in the same discipline. The laureates receive their prizes at formal banquets held in Stockholm and Oslo on December 10.

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