King Carl XVI Gustaf usually hands out all the Nobel Prizes except for the Peace Prize in December.
However, this year, the Swedish Academy, who nominates the candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature, has decided not to hand out the prize. This is due to a severe internal crisis in the Academy that has been going on for several weeks now.
Yesterday morning the Swedish Academy published an official statement in which they announced the King will not hand out a Nobel Prize. It will be the first time in 75 years that the otherwise well respected Swedish Academy will not nominate a laureate. Instead, the Nobel Prize 2018 will be awarded together with the Nobel Prize 2019.
This decision has been made in the light of the ongoing crisis in the organisation.
The crisis began when the cultural figure Jean-Claude Arnault was accused of sexual harassment by several women. Mr Arnault is also being investigated for conflict of interest after his culture Club Forum has received grants from the Academy. Something that Arnault himself denies. The conflict has led to eight Academy members leaving their chairs. Now not even half of the Academy members are still working there. Also, the Academy’s Permanent Secretary has left her post.
In the statement issued by the Swedish Academy Anders Olsson, interim Permanent Secretary said: “The active members of the Swedish Academy are of course fully aware that the present crisis of confidence places high demands on a long-term and robust work for change. We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the Academy before the next laureate can be announced. This, out of respect for previous and future literature laureates, the Nobel Foundation, and the general public.”
The Swedish Academy also insisted that the work on the selection of a laureate will go ahead and is already at an advanced stage, but the Academy needs time to recover.
Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven is “very sad” about the decision and the damage to the reputation of the Academy. “It’s certainly not good for the reputation. That is why it is so important that the Academy now works tirelessly to restore confidence. It always takes longer than to tear down the confidence, but their task now is to mature and improve, and hopefully, it will get better so that we can later award two prizes instead,” said Prime Minister Löfven.
Carl-Henrik Heldin, Chairman of the Board of the Nobel Foundation, the institution responsible for the awarding of the Nobel Prizes, said in a statement: “The crisis of the Swedish Academy, has affected the Nobel Prize negatively. Their decision underlines the seriousness of the situation and will help to protect the long-term reputation of the Nobel Prize. None of this affects the awarding of Nobel prizes 2018 in other award categories.”
His Majesty the King has also reacted to the recent decision of the Swedish Academy. In an official press release, he stated:” I respect the Swedish Academy’s decision to postpone 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature to 2019. This decision shows that the Academy now intends to focus on restoring its reputation.”
King Carl XVI Gustaf had already expressed his concern about the crisis before and had already made a statement on what should change in the Swedish Academy.
King Carl XVI Gustaf is the Swedish Academy’s supreme patron, and each year the Royal Family attends the opening of the Swedish Academy. The Academy was founded by King Gustav VIII in the 18th century. It is, thus, safe to say that the Swedish Royal Family has close ties with the Swedish Academy.