Members of Nobel literature panel quit

STOCKHOLM • Gun-Britt Sundstrom is quitting the Nobel literature prize committee.

The Swedish writer is upset over the choice - made in October - of Peter Handke as this year's winner.

Austrian author Handke has drawn controversy because of his support for the Serbs during the 1990s Yugoslav war.

In a 1996 book, he cast doubt on a Serbian massacre at Srebrenica and accused the Bosnian Muslims of launching attacks. In 2006, he spoke at the funeral of Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic, who was accused of genocide and other war crimes.

Another committee member, Swedish author Kristoffer Leandoer, has also tendered his resignation, saying the academy is taking too long to implement reforms in the wake of a sexual-assault scandal, reported the BBC.

Last year, the prize was suspended amid a ruckus involving the husband of a committee member, poet-writer Katarina Frostenson. He was found guilty of raping a woman in a Stockholm apartment and sentenced to two years in prison.

Some of the alleged attacks on other women reportedly occurred on the academy's grounds.

Leandoer wrote in Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet he has "neither the patience nor the time" to wait for the reforms to be put totally in place.

In a statement in response to the two resignations, the academy said it was reviewing what needed to be done for next year's award.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2019, with the headline 'Members of Nobel literature panel quit'. Print Edition | Subscribe