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Swedish Academy's former head resigns over sex assault scandal

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Swedish Academy's former head resigns over sex assault scandal
Sara Danius, standing at her desk when she was permanent secretary of the academy. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT
17:10 CET+01:00
Member of the Swedish Academy Sara Danius announced on Tuesday that she was resigning, almost a year after she was forced out as permanent secretary by a sexual assault scandal.

Sara Danius resigned on Tuesday from the Swedish Academy that selects the Nobel Prize in Literature, almost a year after she was forced out as permanent secretary by a #MeToo scandal.

The Swedish academic's resignation is the latest development in a scandal that emerged from the #MeToo movement to halt sexual abuse, and forced the Academy to postpone awarding the literature prize in 2018. 

"I have decided to give up my seat... once occupied by the first woman elected to the Academy, Selma Lagerlöf," Danius, 56, said in a statement.

"It has been an honour," she added, without giving a reason for her decision.

In April 2018, Danius was forced to step down as the Academy's permanent secretary, the first woman to hold that position, amid a scandal sparked by Jean-Claude Arnault, an influential figure on Stockholm's cultural scene.

He was convicted of raping a young woman in October and December 2011 and the academy was caught up in the scandal because Arnault was married to one of its members, Katarina Frostenson.

Arnault, who is French, was accused of assault by 18 women in all, and has appealed his conviction to Sweden's supreme court.

The Swedish Academy had also funded Arnault's Forum club, which was popular among aspiring young authors hoping to make contact with publishers and writers.

Danius, a literary scholar, joined the Academy in 2013 and became its permanent secretary two years later.

As such she was the voice and face of the body that awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature to Belarussian journalist Svetlana Alexievitch, US songwriter Bob Dylan and British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro. 

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