Nobel Prize in Literature cancelled after sexual misconduct scandal

Nobel Prize in Literature won't be awarded this year because of sex abuse scandal

The Swedish Academy will announce on Friday whether or not it will postpone awarding the Nobel Prize for Literature this year following a controversy over alleged sexual misconduct that has seen a string of board members leave the institution.

The statement read, "The Swedish Academy has made a decision to postpone the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, with the intention of awarding it in 2019".

It all started in November previous year, when a Swedish newspaper reported that 18 women said they had been sexually assaulted or harassed by Jean-Claude Arnault, who is closely tied to the Swedish Academy and is accused of using his stature in the arts world to try to coerce women into sex.

"The present decision was arrived at in view of the now diminished Academy and the reduced public confidence in the Academy", it said in a statement.

It has also reserved the prize on six other occasions: in 1915, 1919, 1925, 1926, 1927 and 1936, and four of those times the prize was delayed then awarded at the same time as the following year's prize, the Academy said.

The decision was reached at a meeting in Stockholm with the 2018 prize to be given in 2019.

No Nobel prizes at all were awarded during the World War II years of 1940-42.

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Arnault, who is married to Academy member and author Katarina Frostenson, denies all allegations.

The academy later admitted that "unacceptable behavior in the form of unwanted intimacy" took place within its ranks, but its handling of unseemly allegations has shredded the body's credibility, called into question its judgment and forced its first female leader to resign.

Arcane rules that make appointments for life have so far meant that the 18 Academy members have not been able to technically resign.

"We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the Academy before the next laureate can be announced", Anders Olsson, who is interim Permanent Secretary of the Academy, said.

The world's most prestigious prizes in science, medicine, literature and peacemaking have been withheld 49 times in all since the honors based on the will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel began in 1901.

"None of this impacts the awarding of the 2018 Nobel Prizes in other prize categories".

A postponement or cancellation of the prestigious prize has not occurred in decades, but the usually secretive Academy acknowledged its reputation had been damaged by allegations against the husband of one of its members and the admission that the names of some prize-winners had been leaked.

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