In a shock decision there was no Nobel Prizes this year after the Academy fought off a scandal centred round Jean-Claude Arnault. Arnault’s wife Katarina Frostenson is a well known poet and sits on the Academy. Sara Danius, the first woman to lead the Academy led the protest but those who wanted to play down the scandal ousted her from her post.
The scandal continued with many members resigning in protest, leaving the Academy in crisis due to its own rules. It looked as though the entire Nobel Prize Academy might have been disbanded forever but it was ultimately saved, although 2018 will be the first year in 69 years that the awards have not been given.
The details of the scandal were vague but this week a Swedish prosecutor in Stockholm has brought rape charges against Jean-Claude Arnault, bringing to light the seriousness of the scandal.
Arnault has long been considered the cultural gatekeeper in Sweden and beyond, running the Forum in Stockholm and receiving financial support from the 232 year old Swedish Academy. He is married to one academy member and is close to others but as more women come forward, the scandal has become too big to sweep under the rug.
A number of women have come forward and accused Arnault of using his sway in the arts world and his connections to the Academy to pressure young women in the arts to have sex. As many as 18 women have come forward, but some crimes happened too long ago to be dealt with in Swedish law. However, Arnault has been charged with two counts of rape, both involving the same woman in a case that dates back to 2011. It’s also thought the number of women involved may be much higher but artists are scared to speak out for fear of ruining their reputation for speaking out against the well respected behemoth that is the Swedish Academy.
The episode has put Arnault at the heart of the prominent #MeToo movement in Sweden, and even Crown Princess Victoria came forward to say Arnault had groped her at an event.
The respected Academy cancelled this year’s prizes in light of the scandal the first time this has happened since 1949. Then, two prizes were awarded in 1950, but Lars Heikensten, director of the Nobel Foundation, said in a radio interview there might not be a literature prize next year, either as the Swedish Academy needs to do much more to win back the public’s trust.
The fifth annual Sainsbury Children’s Book Award sees authors such as Ed Vere, Abi Elphinstone and Garth Jennings nominated along with popular children’s characters such as Peppa Pig and the Pokemon franchise. As BookTrust reports, the nominations are as follows:
The competition was created to help promote the work of British Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) writers who have been vastly underrepresented in the publishing world.
The winner will receive a chance to win £1,000, an exclusive one‑day publishing workshop and a taste of online publication.
The six finalists for this year’s competition have been announced- with stories about pixies and changeling children, Grenfell Tower, grief and music, and more.
The overall winner will be announced on the 12th of September.
The collection was shortlisted for the T. S Eliot prize last year and won the Roland Mathias Poetry Prize before being announced as Wales Book of the Year 2018. The collection is described by the author as as a walk across Britain; Brexit Britain, a Britain facing political uncertainty and experiencing change of all kinds, not least climate change. In parts immensely local, in others casting its view abroad, this collection is a celebration of the dwindling Earth, and a caution.
The new award is set to celebrate immigrants at a time when immigrant has become a dirty word. The three finalists are below, and the winner will be announced on 11th October at George Mason University. Read More
On Twitter, criticism has already been laid for the lack of diversity in authors in the list, something that seems to be becoming a bit of a regular occurrence for many of the bigger literary prizes. However, the list has also been praised for including a graphic novel for the first time in the prize’s history. Read More