In an interview published on the website of the academy, Lars Heikensten cast doubt over the academy’s ability to announce the Prize in Literature for 2019 after it called off the 2018 prize due to a series of scandals.
“The Swedish Academy’s goal is to make its decision on the 2018 Nobel Prize in literature and to announce it together with the 2019 prize. We hope that this will be the case, but it depends on the Swedish Academy restoring its trust,” Heikensten said.
“The Swedish Academy must be able to report what concrete measures are being taken and should get outside help in order to solve their problems. Among other things, they need to reassess compliance with their confidentiality and conflict-of-interest rules,” he added
“The academy has cultivated a closed culture over a long period of time. This was likely to be challenged at one time or another… I believe that in the end something good will come out of this situation, even if that of course has not been the feeling during recent weeks,” Heikensten pointed out, Presstv reported.
On May 4, the Nobel Foundation announced its decision to postpone the 2018 Prize for Literature for a year in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct, financial malpractice and repeated leaks.
The scandal is the biggest to hit the organization since it awarded its first prize in 1901.
The scandal started after French-Swedish former photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, who is the husband of Swedish academy member Katarina Frostenson, was accused by 18 women of sexual harassment, some on properties belonging to the academy.
Arnault, who denies all charges against him, was later also accused of using his clout to leak names of Nobel laureates days before the academy would make its official announcements.
The scandal unveiled issues in the jury prompting several members to resign, leaving only 10 active members of the 18-member academy in place.
This is while the academy's statutes require a quorum of 12 in order to give the body jurisdiction.
The Swedish king Carl XVI Gustaf announced he would change the academy’s statutes, allowing new members to join in to replace the old members who were appointed for life.
"Given the situation the academy currently finds itself in, and given the best interests of the prize, it might be best to postpone it for a year," said Peter Englund, an academy member.
This is not the first time the Nobel Prize is being postponed. On five occasions the prize was postponed for a year.