Wednesday 23 June 2021
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Nobel scandal: Husband of Academy member leaked names

An internal Academy probe reported that Jean-Claude Arnault leaked winners' names seven times, starting 1996; some of the notable names are Bob Dylan, Svetlana Alexievich and Patrick Modiano

Stockholm: A Swedish newspaper says the husband of a member of the academy awarding the Nobel Literature Prize violated century-old Nobel rules by repeatedly leaking the names of winners of the prestigious award, including the 2016 recipient Bob Dylan.

One of Sweden’s biggest dailies, Dagens Nyheter, cited an internal Academy probe to report today that Jean-Claude Arnault leaked winners’ names seven times, starting in 1996. It was not clear who the names were disclosed to. Dagens Nyheter reported on 8 April that the “Cultural Profile,” as the paper continues to describe him, leaked the names of at least seven recent Nobel winners before their announcement — including Bob Dylan, Svetlana Alexievich and Patrick Modiano.

The attorney for the accused said to news agencies that he denies all the allegations against him.

Arnault has separately been embroiled in sexual misconduct allegations. The allegations of leaks surfaced when the #MeToo movement hit Sweden last November. The aforementioned Stockholm daily reported that the man had allegedly sexually assaulted or harassed at least 18 women over the past two decades.

Three Academy members resigned Friday after the body voted against removing author Katarina Frostenson, a fellow member and Arnault’s wife. The trio had called for her exclusion.

Peter Englund, the academy’s former permanent secretary, and authors Klas Östergren and Kjell Espmark have resigned from their respective positions on the 18-member committee in quick succession. They have cited the allegations against a high-profile figure closely associated with a member of the Academy.

The 18-member secretive academy keeps names secret, never discusses potential winners and has kept nominations secret for half a century.

Three members of the Swedish Academy resigned Friday, thereby lodging their protest against the authority’s response to a long-simmering scandal.

The Academy that awards the Nobel Prize in literature is clueless about a way out of the ignominy. It can at best examine the merits of an author’s past work, as it does every year. The Norwegian and original Nobel has a much cleaner record.

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