Swedish Academy appoints new secretary | News | DW | 26.04.2019
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Swedish Academy appoints new secretary

The Swedish body that picks Nobel literature laureates but hit by scandal in 2017 has named a new secretary. Professor Mats Malm will run the Swedish Academy, which plans to belatedly declare its 2018 award this October.

Malm, literary professor at Gothenburg University, pledged "renewal" Friday at the Swedish Academy that was rocked in recent years by a #MeToo-type scandal and conflict-of-interest claims.

Read more: Delay gave academy time to think

The 54-year-old will take over from Anders Olsson, who has served as Academy head since June 2018 after its previous permanent secretary, Sara Danius, stepped down.

Olsson in February cited the academy's age limit of 70 as his reason for departure.

The scandal culminated last December in rape convictions against Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of a former academy member, poet Katarina Frostenson.

Arnault has since filed an appeal. Frostenson left the 18-member panel in January after an inquiry found she had leaked the names of past winners.

2018, 2019 awards due side-by-side

During last year's disarray, the Academy ended up postponing its 2018 award until October this year, to be named alongside the winner of its 2019 laudation.

The academy's deep rift, the biggest crisis in its two-century history resulted in a string of panel members resigning in protest over the academy's handling of events.

Danius, who stepped down as secretary in April last year and as panel member in February, had been the first woman to run the institution.

Schweden Rücktirtt Sara Danius

April 2018: Danius announces her departure as secretary

Vacated seats filled

Last month, the academy announced it had elected two new members, Swedish authors Ellen Mattson and Anne Sward, to fill vacated seats.

Traditionally, academy members were elected for life. In revised rules, members are allowed to leave the body.

'Important steps' made

The literature prize, awarded in recent years to Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievitch, US songwriter Bob Dylan and British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, was endowed by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel.

He also created awards in scientific fields and peace efforts.

In March, the Nobel Foundation credited the academy with taking "a number of important steps to deal with problems that arose late in 2017."

ipj/ng (Reuters, dpa, AFP)