Stockholm (dpa) - After a deep cut last year, the Swedish Academy announced Thursday the Nobel Prize winners for the years 2018 and 2019.
As a result, the institution in Stockholm not only selects this year's winner, as usual, but is also collecting the award from the previous year. This had failed because of an extensive scandal at the Academy. Both prizes are worth 9 million Swedish kroner (around 830,000 euros).
The new Permanent Secretary Mats Malm wants to announce the winners immediately after 1:00 pm at the earliest. The chairman of the Nobel committee, Anders Olsson, will present the honorees together with other members of the committee. For Malm it is the first announcement of this kind: When the Japanese last born Kazuo Ishiguro was announced in the autumn of 2017, the most recent Nobel Prize for Literature, was still Sara Danius before the panel.
Since then a lot has happened at the Swedish Academy. A scandal surrounding the now-defunct member Katarina Frostenson and her husband Jean-Claude Arnault had plunged the institution into a deep crisis, due to the 2018 was ultimately dispensed with a Nobel Prize. The quarrels had already started in November 2017 as part of the #MeToo revelations, after 18 women in the Swedish newspaper "Dagens Nyheter" had made allegations of sexual harassment and attacks on Arnault. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for rape in December 2018, and his sentence is now final.
To leave the crisis behind, the organization has now largely reorganized. The Nobel Committee was expanded to include external members.
Who is awarded in Stockholm, could be speculated in advance only. Bookmakers expected great opportunities for Canadians Anne Carson and Margaret Atwood in 2019, while Caribbean-born writer Maryse Condé from the French overseas Guadeloupe region and Polin Olga Tokarczuk were among the favorites. For the crisis year of 2018, on the other hand, it was unlikely that a woman would receive the catch-up price - given the history of the harassment allegations, this could lead to controversy beyond Stockholm.
Unlike scientific Nobel Prizes, the literary award is usually given to a single award winner. Only four times since the first award in 1901, two literary figures got him together, most recently in 1974. According to the Nobel Statutes, a maximum of two candidates may receive him for a year. In Stockholm, a shared award is seen as a risk that the award winners could only pay half the honor.
That this time one prize winner could stand in the shadow of the other, one does not believe in the academy. "The awards and winners of 2018 and 2019 are equally valued, and we believe that attention and fame will be abundant for both," said Malm in advance of the German Press Agency. While the Nobel Prize is a tribute to certain writers, it is essentially an extensive celebration of world literature.
Nobel Prize in Literature