By: Ringo Bones
Maybe I’m not just the only one who was “slightly relieved” that this year’s Nobel Literature Prize announcement delay did not happen when the Swedish Academy awarded their prestigious accolade to the “most unseemly” recipient of them all – i.e. the iconic American singer/songwriter Bob Dylan back in 2016. But given the reason(s) behind this year’s delay, could this eventually bring down the Swedish Academy?
Apparently, this all started when the academy’s permanent secretary, Prof. Sara Danius, resigned when divisions started to emerge back in November 2017 when French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault who ran a cultural project with funding from the Swedish Academy, was accused by 18 women of sexual assault. Several of the alleged incidents reportedly happened in properties belonging to the academy. Mr. Arnault denies the allegations. The delay of this year’s announcement for the Nobel Literature Prize laureate is largely due to the women members of the academy’s fear of a #MeToo backlash if they choose to run the academy like it’s “business as usual”.
As a compromise, two prizes for literature will be awarded next year, one for 2018 and one for 2019. This is not the first time that this had happened. On five occasions, a prize for one year has been awarded at the same time as the following year’s prize. For example, American playwright Eugene O’Neill was given the 1936 Nobel Literature Prize in 1937. Unfortunately, this year’s delay for a Nobel Literature Prize laureate raised rumors of a “conspiracy” in various social media platforms when various prominent authors and playwrights around the world accused the academy of being “infiltrated” by a nefarious right-wing-white-supremacists organizations like Breitbart and Cambridge Analytica after the academy’s alleged postponement in considering Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o as the 2018 Nobel Literature Prize laureate.