The Swedish Academy which decides the Nobel Prize for Literature said on Friday it would not make the award this year because of a sexual misconduct scandal that has caused turmoil in its ranks and led to the resignation of a string of board members.
The foundation said in a statement the intention was to award the 2018 prize next year, along with that year's prize.
It all started in November a year ago, when a Swedish newspaper reported that 18 women said they had been sexually assaulted or harassed by Jean-Claude Arnault, who is closely tied to the Swedish Academy and is accused of using his stature in the arts world to try to coerce women into sex.
Anders Olsson, the acting permanent secretary of the Stockholm-based body, announced that the 2018 prize would instead be given in 2019, a decision that "was arrived at in view of the now diminished Academy and the reduced public confidence in the Academy".
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The last time the literature prize was not awarded was in 1943, at the height of World War Two.
Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf, who is the patron of the Academy founded in 1786, has agreed to change the statutes to allow members to resign and be replaced, thereby ensuring the institution's survival.
The present decision was arrived at in view of the now diminished Academy and the reduced public confidence in the Academy.
The Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded by the Swedish Academy since its inception following the death of Alfred Nobel in 1896.
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The academy said that "work on the selection of a laureate is at an advanced stage and will continue as usual in the months ahead but the Academy needs time to regain its full complement".
The body has been plunged in crisis since November, in the wake of the global #MeToo campaign, when Swedish newspaper of reference Dagens Nyheter published the testimonies of 18 women claiming to have been raped, sexually assaulted or harassed by Jean-Claude Arnault, an influential figure on the Swedish culture scene.
He added that the cultural institution also made the decision to delay the 2018 award "out of respect for previous and future literature laureates, the Nobel Foundation and the general public".
Arnault also has been suspected of violating century-old Nobel rules by leaking names of winners of the prestigious award, allegedly seven times, starting in 1996.
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In an emailed statement to CNN, Arnault's lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, said his client denies all the allegations.