October 22, 2018
Is the newest committee member for Nobel in Literature mocking us all? Or is that just a bad author photo?
by Michael Barron
Nobel season is over, and this year, for the first time since what seems like dinosaurs ruled the earth, no laureate for literature was announced. In its place, the New Academy Prize, a substitute Nobel in Literature given when the Swiss Academy can’t get it’s shit together, was awarded to Guadeloupean writer Marysé Conde, which is awesome for her, but it’s not the Nobel. (Though Marysé should be given a proper award ceremony, and Bob Dylan should be forced to attend just so he knows what a real literary laureate looks like).
The committee (made up of for-life judges, at least for now) at the Swiss Academy that awards the Nobel for Literature has gone through a mini #MeToo reckoning that saw men against women on an unprecedented level. Accusations and resignations abounded like lay-ups at the b-ball court, there were public protests outside its halls, even the King of Sweden got involved to give the Academy quite the royal finger wag. And you were beginning to wonder if the King of Sweden had any use at all.
It seems now, however, that the first steps of reconciliation are beginning to clack. That’s right, the Academy has appointed as its newest member, Mats Malm, a professor of comparative literature at the University of Gothenburg who, from his Wikipedia page, looks like he could give a damn about scandals. The committee is going through other changes, so be sure to check back here to find out what they might be, or as M(eh)ts M(eh)lm might say: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Michael Barron is an editor at Melville House.