The Swedish Academy will announce the 2018 and 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday, 10 October
Hello Anders Olsson. You are the Chairman of the Nobel Committee. So, what exactly happens on 10 October?
At our scheduled convocation in the Swedish Academy at 11.30 am we will vote on the Nobel Literature Prize winners for 2018 and 2019. It is obviously the most important item on the agenda that day and the meeting is usually brief. When the choices have been made, we will take a break until the public announcement at 1 pm, this year in a slightly different form. We recognise the strong interest in meeting the members of the new, augmented Nobel Committee. So after the announcement by the Permanent Secretary there will be a press conference in which I, Per Wästberg and three external Committee members will answer questions about the Prizes.
Describe the process of choosing laureates for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
We begin work in February when nominations from all around the world are delivered to the Swedish Academy. When we find it motivated, we add our own. The spring brings an intensive process of reading and discussion through which the Committee produces a list of about 20 of what we consider the most important names. This list, presented to the rest of the Academy, is the base from which the final Short List, usually of five names, is selected before our summer break. This year we extended the Short List to eight names since we are awarding two Prizes and needed greater choice. The entire Academy must read from these works during the summer. This year, work has been different, since the Committee has been given more authority and has members external to the Academy. The Academy members still choose the laureates but the Committee nominates the two candidates and writes an opinion with a comprehensive motivation.
What is most enjoyable and what is the hardest part of awarding a prize for literature?
The best part is reading through so much fantastic literature together with other book lovers. But it’s always difficult to decide what is worthiest of such a big prize. But once we reach a decision, the difficulties turns into fesitivities and something unforgettable.
You are awarding two prizes this year, one for 2018 and one for 2019. Will this affect the ceremony?
No, not much. But all the details of the ceremony have not been finalised.
Who comprise the Nobel Committee?
Mikaela Blomqvist, Rebecka Kärde, Kristoffer Leandoer, Kristina Lugn, Anders Olsson, Henrik Petersen, Gun-Britt Sundström, .Jesper Svenbro and Per Wästberg.
What happens in December, besides the Nobel awards ceremony on 10 December?
Of course we have to wait to hear if the laureates can be in Stockholm. But if they can, we are counting on them to hold the customary Nobel Lecture in the Old Exchange Building a few days before the actual ceremony. Planning for the rest of Nobel Week rests largely on the laureates’ own wishes.