A fresh round of controversy has hit Nobel Prize in Literature on Monday after two members of the external committee decided to quit. The external committee was set up to oversee the reforms in the Nobel Prize in Literature and to change the work culture in the Swedish Academy.
Nobel committee member Kristoffer Leandoer has announced his resignation through a Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. Kristoffer wrote that the Academy was taking too long to implement the reforms he suggested. He added that he had neither the patience nor time to wait for the reforms to be implemented He went on to say that the Academy had a different perspective on time as for them one year was not too long to implement the reforms.
Similarly, joining her fellow author, Gun-Britt Sundstrom also tendered her resignation. She criticised the Academy for its decision to reward Peter Handke with Nobel prize and put literature above politics.
Earlier the Academy was hit by controversy when it decided to give the 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature to Austrian-born Peter Handke. Handke downplayed the atrocities committed by Serbs in Yugoslavia during the war in the 1990s. Handke also attended the funeral of war criminal Slobodan Milošević.
The controversy took another turn when Anders Olsson, Chairman of the Nobel Committee, decided to write a letter to three public figures in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina for criticising the committee's decision to honour Peter Handke with Nobel Prize in Literature in 2019. Olsson in his letter stated that the Swedish Academy has asserted Handke's literary work in a different way than they have, and has concluded that the decision to award the prize to him is fully compatible with the purpose expressed in the will of Alfred Nobel.
The Swedish Academy was forced to bring in reforms and set-up an external panel to oversee the implementation after a sex scandal involving a husband of a former member hit the prestigious institution. The scandal led to resignations of several members and a team was established to assist the academy in finding candidates for the prize.
(With inputs from agencies)