Amidst a huge sexual scandal, the Nobel Prize for Literature 2018 was cancelled, the first time this has happened since the 1940s. French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, who is married to a former member of the institution was accused of sexual misconduct and was eventually convicted of rape, causing the Academy to collapse from within.
On the two previous occasions the prize has been cancelled, a double award has been issues on the following year, and now that the Nobel Academy has reformed after the scandal it’s announced that there will be two Nobel Prizes for Literature awarded this year.
The Academy has been forced to take steps to ensure that it will create good opportunities and restore trust. This Autumn the Academy will announce Nobel Laureates for both 2018 and 2019.
The biggest chance to the prize is the appointment of five new independent external members, who will for the foreseeable future help the Academy to choose laureates. How the winner is chosen has always been a closely guarded secret but we do know that around two hundred authors are reviewed by the Academy in February and a shortlist is decided on by May. Over the summer the final five authors are studied and a winner is chosen. The jury’s reasoning is not known, but the archives are opened to the world, fifty years after each event.
During the scandal the Nobel Foundation criticised the Academy for fostering a closed culture over a long period of time. However, with the changes, last month they released a statement saying that external voices will add valuable new perspectives to the jury.
At the end of last year, Guadeloupean author Maryse Conde was awarded an alternative prize for literature in an award intended to fill the cancelation but this year the Nobel Laureate for 2018 and 2019 will be announced.