3 members of Nobel literature prize body to return
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Three members who quit the prestigious body that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature amid a scandal and internal feud are returning to the Swedish Academy, saying differences with a member are of less importance than the academy itself, a newspaper reported Thursday.
The Svenska Dagbladet daily says former Academy permanent secretary Sara Danius, Kjell Espmark and Peter Englund will rejoin the secretive 18-member body. They were among seven Academy members who stepped down as a sex-abuse and financial crimes scandal engulfed the body. In May the academy announced that no prize will be awarded this year.
Espmark told the daily “we are ready to help out” with electing new board members, but did not elaborate.
In June, Swedish prosecutors charged the man at the center of the scandal with two counts of rape of a woman in 2011. Jean-Claude Arnault, a Swedish cultural figure and husband of Academy member Katarina Frostenson, has denied the allegations. Frostenson quit in April, at the same time as Danius.
The trio had said they would be willing to return if fellow member Horace Engdahl, a suppoerter of Arnault who had labelled them a “clique of sore losers,” left the body.
Espmark was quoted as saying that they had reversed their stance because “we have to ask ourselves the question: what is most important, the well-being of the Academy or the personal issue?”
He told Swedish news agency TT that “our loyalty lies with the Academy.”
Many in the Scandinavian nation, known for promoting gender equality, have expressed dismay over the scandal, which has exposed bitter divisions within the academy and given rise to accusations of patriarchal leanings among some members.
A protest that grew out of what began as Sweden’s own #MeToo moment in November hit the academy when 18 women came forward in a Swedish newspaper with accusations against Arnault.
In April, the Swedish Academy said an internal investigation into sexual misconduct allegations found that “unacceptable behavior in the form of unwanted intimacy” has taken place within the ranks of the prestigious institution.