The Academy

The Swedish Academy is an independent cultural institution, founded in 1786 by King Gustaf III in order to advance the Swedish language and Swedish literature. The Academy has also awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature since 1901.

Members of the Swedish Academy

The Swedish Academy has eighteen members. It is said that Gustaf III originally intended there to be twenty, half the number of those in the French Academy, but eventually decided on eighteen because the Swedish word for that number had such a fine ring. Election is by secret ballot in the Academy, and before the result is made public it must be submitted to the Academy's Patron, the King, for his approval. 

Writers were initially in the minority, most members being important officials. The first half of the nineteenth century was the epoch of great poets in the Swedish Academy, whereas the second half shows a prominent contribution from scholars, chiefly historians and linguists. During the twentieth century and up to its end the number of writers grew to represent more than half of The Eighteen. Apart from the writers the Academy of today also includes linguists, literary scholars, historians and a prominent jurist.

From its long history of being a heavily male dominated insitution the Swedish Academy has slowly moved towards better equality. From the 20 December 2019 one third of the chairs will belong to female Academy members.

Present members of the Swedish Academy:

Chair no 1   Eric M. Runesson, b. 1960 (elected 2018)

Chair no 2   Bo Ralph, b. 1945 (elected 1999)

Chair no 3   Sture Allén, b. 1928 (elected 1980)

Chair no 4   Anders Olsson, b. 1949 (elected 2008)

Chair no 5   Vacant

Chair no 6   Tomas Riad, b. 1959 (elected 2011)

Chair no 7   Vacant. Read press release »

Chair no 8   Jesper Svenbro, b. 1944 (elected 2006)

Chair no 9  Vacant. Read press release »

Chair no 10  Peter Englund, b. 1957 (elected 2002)

Chair no 11  Mats Malm, b. 1964 (elected 2018), Permanent Secretary

Chair no 12  Per Wästberg, b. 1933 (elected 1997)

Chair no 13  Vacant. Read press release »

Chair no 14  Kristina Lugn, b. 1948 (elected 2006)

Chair no 15  Jila Mossaed, b. 1948 (elected 2018)

Chair no 16  Kjell Espmark, b. 1930 (elected 1981)

Chair no 17  Horace Engdahl, b. 1948 (elected 1997)

Chair no 18  Vacant. Read press release »