Hello Gentle Reader
The Swedish Academy is working diligently to rebuild its roster to a full eighteen member capacity. Recently the vacant seats: Chair No. 9—formerly held by: Jayne Svenungsson; and Chair No. 13—Formerly held by: Sara Stridsberg, will now be held by the two newly elected members: Ellen Mattson and Anne Swärd. These new appointees will be formally inducted on December 20th (two-thousand and nineteen) alongside the Finnish-Swedish language poet: Tua Forsström.
Gender is an obvious contender and component to the appointments of, Ellen Mattson and Anne Swärd, as the Swedish Academy continually attempts to change its image as a male dominated institution, after recent events and scandal. Anders Olsson, the current Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, has also stated—and attempted to mitigate the conversation away from gender politics—that the two newly appointed members are great prose stylists in their own right, and should help balance the perspective of the Swedish Academy; as both Tua Forsström and Jila Mossaed who are renowned and recognized for their poetic activities. Beyond their prose work as authors, Anders Olsson has credited both, Ellen Mattson and Anne Swärd, as experienced literary assessors, and important readers.
Both the new appointees are best described as writers, rather than academics. However, Ellen Mattson has written more than just novels. She has expanded her writings into the theatre and dramatic texts for radio, and is an accomplished literary critic. Anne Swärd by comparison is a working and living author, and is renowned for her intense narratives and novels. Their induction to the Swedish Academy will be unique and interesting to observe in the coming years.
Their appointments have not gone unnoticed by critics, who feel that the desire to appointment new members based on gender is rather egregious, something akin to the pity diversity hire, where a candidate is chosen because they minority social factors rather than core competencies. Björn Wiman of Dagens Nyheter viewed the inclusions as a slight step down for the Swedish Academy, as he believed the two authors chosen was based on gender rather than competency and merit, and found that neither novelist had truly made a signifigant or lasting impact on Swedish literature or language in the same fashion as Sara Stridsberg, or going further Tua Forsström. Personally, I believe Goran Sonnevi an accomplished poet and academic would be a suitable choice for the academy, but then again as it stands he is not a woman, a matter the Swedish Academy will need to carefully consider as they choose to induct new members: is it based off competency or off social perspective or social pressure?
Currently the Swedish Academy hosts the following members, with a seventeen strong roster:
Chair No. 1 – (Justice) Eric M. Runesson (also a Supreme Court Judge)
Chair No. 2 – Bo Ralph
Chair No. 3 – Sture Allen
Chair No. 4 – Anders Olsson
Chair No. 5 – Göran Malmqvist
Chair No. 6 – Tomas Riad
Chair No. 7 – Vacant
Chair No. 8 – Jesper Svenbro
Chair No. 9 – Ellen Mattson (to be inducted: December 20th)
Chair No. 10 – Peter Englund
Chair No. 11 – Mats Malm
Chair No. 12 – Per Wästberg
Chair No. 13 – Anne Swärd (to be inducted: December 20th)
Chair No. 14 – Kristina Lugn
Chair No. 15 – Jila Mossaed
Chair No. 16 – Kjell Espmark
Chair No. 17 – Horace Engdahl
Chair No. 18 – Tua Forsström (to be inducted: December 20th)
The final chair to be filled is Chair No. 7, formally held by the former Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, Sara Danius. It has not been announced or decided when this seat will be filled, but there is precedence and speculation that it will be also be filled by a woman to help round out the numbers and ratio of male to female in the academy.
Thank-you For Reading Gentle Reader
And As Always
Stay Well Read
For Further Reading—
Expressen :"New members of the Swedish Academy,"
Svt: "Ellen Mattson and Anne Swärd are elected to the Academy,"