The Birdcage Archives

Thursday 11 October 2018

Preliminaries to the Alternative Literature Nobel Prize

Hello Gentle Reader

The Swedish Academy is adamant that it is doing its best to restore trust and legitimacy as an institution with cultural and literary adjudicating authority and powers. Last week they announced that they have elected two new members to the Swedish Academy: Justice Eric Runesson (who had also been appointed to the Swedish Supreme Court), and Jila Mossaed, an Iranian born naturalized Swedish citizen, who is renowned for her poetry in both Persian and Swedish as well as a writer of novels. The elections were received warmly, though neither will take their seat respective seat until the annual meeting on December 20th, where they will officially take their positions in Chair No. 1 and Chair No. 15.

Despite the initial warm reception both appointees received, others have remained stony in their judgement of the academy, as they have said: neither, Justice Eric Runesson or Jila Mossaed are going to cleanse the academy of its previous five months of poor behaviour; nor will they absolve the academy of its absorbent behaviour over the past few months and even year. The academy can revise and modernize its statutes and appoint as many new members as it needs to, the rotting taste over the previous few months remains fresh in the mind and bitter on the tongue. There has been no word from the Nobel Foundation, who as it stands has a strained relationship with the academy, on whether or not it views these appointments as significant enough in regaining trust and legitimacy.

After today’s meeting, the Swedish Academy has once again come to a decision to appoint two new members to the academy. Who they are is still a mystery, due to the fact the Swedish Academy requires royal ascent in order to confirm publicly the names of the proposed two new elected members. The announcement of the two new members is expected to come either tomorrow or Monday. It was also confirmed that Peter Englund and Kjell Espmark have also participated in electing new members to the Swedish Academy; there has been no word on whether or not former Permanent Secretary Sara Danius has.

The question of Katarina Frostenson has also once again been revisited. It turns out a majority of the Swedish Academy has finally come to its senses—at least according to the Swedish Newspaper Dagens Nyheter. The majority of the Swedish Academy has drafted and signed a letter of intent, requesting that Katarina Frostenson relinquish and resign herself from the Swedish Academy, due to the violation of Statute 48, concerning locality and confidentiality.  pro tempore Permanent Secretary Anders Olsson did not comment on this; nor did any other member. Though it is implied three members oppose the letter. I speculate the three members opposing the letter are: Horace Engdahl, Sture Allen, and Göran Malmqvist; who were some of the loudest members of opposition to former Permanent Secretary Sara Danius and instigators in the crisis. There is still no word on the future or fate of Katarina Frostenson with the Swedish Academy.

Krista Lugn, a current member of the Swedish Academy’s, Nobel Committee also announced today that one winner has been decided for the Nobel Prize for Literature for two-thousand and nineteen; but did note that this may change in the following months.

With that aside, what does the Swedish Academy think of the Alternative Nobel Prize for Literature, which will announce its winner tomorrow? In short, they do not hold a high opinion of the reactionary award or Alexandra Pascalidou the Swedish-Greek journalist who had spearheaded the award. I should note Ms. Pascalidou does not appreciate the term: Alternative Nobel Prize for Literautre, she claims the award is not an alternative, but a separate award based on different passions and idealistic pillars, such as transparency and egalitarianism. Members of the Swedish Academy, however disagrees. Horace Engdahl has called the entire idea a joke, and proposes the idea is a blatant attempt at trying to create a substitute the Nobel Prize for Literature.

With regards to his friend Jean-Claude Arnault, Horace Engdahl remains firm that the Swedish Academy could not do anything with regards to the scandal let alone prevent: “the wicked deeds, if there were any.” He said in an e-mail to CNN. Anders Olsson also agrees with Horace Engdahl on his perspective of the new award and the ‘New Academy,’ which he says lacks the financial resources of the Swedish Academy as well as its intellectual authority. Alexandra Pascalidou dismisses these claims as reactionary and fearful, but expected, as well as hopes the Swedish Academy will be able to renew itself for the sake of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Tomorrow Gentle Reader, the ‘New Academy,’ will release who will win their new award—to blunt the Alternative Nobel Prize for Literature. One of three authors are up to win the award, as Haruki Murakami had resigned himself, they are:

Maryse Condé – Guadeloupe
Neil Gaiman – United Kingdom
Kim Thúy – Vietnam/Canada

Thank-you For Reading Gentle Reader
Take Care
And As Always
Stay Well Read

M. Mary

For Further Reading 

Judith Vonberg, CNN: "New literature award emerges in absence of #MeToo-hit Nobel,"

Kkuriren "Contradictory information about invasion of the Academy,"

Aftonbladet: "Tasks: Decide on Frostenson's future - should leave the Swedish Academy,"

Dagens Nyheter: "Academy decision: Katarina Frostenson should leave his chair,"

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