Two Nobel Prizes will be given away in Literature this year after no award was announced in 2018 for the first time since the World War II, the Nobel Foundation announced on Tuesday.
Last year’s prize was cancelled in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct against Jean-Claude Arnault, husband of Katarina Frostenson, a member of the Swedish Academy. Several resignations and protests against how the allegations were handled left the Academy with no choice but to cancel the prize. Arnault was subsequently convicted of rape.
In its announcement on Tuesday, the Nobel Foundation said that the Swedish Academy “has taken a number of important steps to deal with the problems that arose late in 2017, and more are planned”, while acknowledging that it would take time to “fully restore confidence”.
Among the changes is the appointment of five independent external members who will participate in the process of selecting the Nobel laureates for an unspecified number of years. The selection process for the Nobel Prize has been famously opaque, with the selection committee’s deliberations only being made public 50 years after the prize is awarded. “The new committee will submit its own joint proposal for a Nobel Laureate,” the Nobel Foundation announced, adding that the Academy “intends to practice greater openness, for example concerning its finances”.
The Academy “no longer includes any members who are subject to conflict of interest or criminal investigations”, the Foundation stated, clarifying that several new members have been since been elected.
As dictated by Alfred Nobel’s will, the prize is awarded to authors for “outstanding contributions in the field of literature” and is usually announced in October. The last winner was British writer Kazuo Ishiguro, in 2017.