The Swedish Academy postpones the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature

4 May 2018

The Swedish Academy intends to decide on and announce the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2018 in parallel with the naming of the 2019 laureate. Seven times previously, the Swedish Academy has chosen to declare a “reserved prize”: in 1915, 1919, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1936 and 1949. On five of those occasions, the prize was delayed then awarded at the same time as the following year’s prize.

The present decision was arrived at in view of the currently diminished Academy and the reduced public confidence in the Academy. Work on the selection of a laureate is at an advanced stage and will continue as usual in the months ahead but the Academy needs time to regain its full complement, engage a larger number of active members and regain confidence in its work, before the next Literature Prize winner is declared.

The active members of the Swedish Academy are in agreement that, without compromising the Academy’s purpose and to retain respect for its unique historical legacy, the Academy’s operative practices need to be evolved. The Academy has therefore newly begun a comprehensive work of change. One of the purposes is to modernise the interpretation of the Academy’s statutes, principally the question of resignation of membership. In addition, routines will be tightened regarding conflict-of-interest issues and the management of information classified as secret. Further, internal work arrangements and external communication will be refreshed.

“The active members of the Swedish Academy are of course fully aware that the present crisis of confidence places high demands on a long-term and robust work for change. We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the Academy before the next laureate can be announced. This, out of respect for previous and future literature laureates, the Nobel Foundation, and the general public,” says Anders Olsson, interim Permanent Secretary.

For inquiries:
Louise Hedberg, Administrative Director
+46-8-555 125 02