A building with the words The Swedish Academy in Swedish on a sign.
The Swedish Academy has been rocked by scandal just days before the Nobel ceremony and banquet take place in Stockholm. Credit: Henrik Montgomery /TT

"Culture profile" accused of leaking Nobel laureates' names

7:22 min

A man with close links to the Swedish Academy – the body that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature – has been accused of leaking names of previous laureates ahead of the official announcements.

The accusations, leveled by three women who spoke to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, come just days before the Nobel Prize ceremony and banquet take place this weekend.

The man, who is married to one of the Academy’s 18 members and is the artistic director of a high-brow cultural club in Stockholm, allegedly leaked names of laureates to the three women in 2004, when Elfriede Jelinek was awarded the Nobel, in 2005 when the prize went to Harold Pinter, and in 2014 when it went to Patrick Modiano.

Gunnar Bolin, a journalist with Swedish Radio's culture department who has covered the Nobel for 30 years, tells Radio Sweden that the whole affair is a big scandal for the Swedish Academy but that it, in the grand scheme of things, is not “so serious”. Bolin insisted: “It’s a prize, it’s not about state secrets.”

The man, dubbed "the culture profile" in Swedish media has, in the wake of the #metoo campaign, also been accused of sexual harassment by 18 different women. It is three of those women who have now also claimed that, in the past, the “culture profile” told them the names of Nobel Prize winners.

For Bolin, the sexual harassment accusations are much more serious than the leaks rumours – and the whole affair could tarnish the Academy’s reputation, he said.

Listen to the interview in full by clicking on the link.


Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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