Nobel Literature Prize judges Klas Östergren, Kjell Espmark and Peter Englund resigned from their positions with the Swedish Academy last Friday, but offered few details in their individual statements, the Associated Press reported, adding that "Englund wrote in a letter to the tabloid Aftonbladet that his decision was linked to the Swedish Academy's decision late last year to cut ties with the head of a Stockholm cultural center who was accused of sexual misconduct."
Several Swedish news outlets, including Aftonbladet, "said the background was a vote in the academy on whether to exclude Katarina Forstensson, a member with close ties to the accused man. The paper said those who left the academy wanted Forstensson out but were voted down," the AP wrote.
In a written statement to the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, Östergren said the academy has had serious problems for a long time "and has now tried to solve them in a way that puts obscure considerations before its own statutes. Therefore, I have decided to no longer take part in its activities. I'm leaving the table, I'm out of the game."
Espmark's letter to Svenska Dagbladet, as well as Dagens Nyheter, stated: "Integrity is the lifeblood of the Swedish Academy. When leading voices in the academy put friendship and other irrelevant considerations before this integrity, then I can no longer participate in the work."
Noting that Swedish Academy membership "is intended to be for life, so no one has technically left it before," the Guardian reported that Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of the academy, "said that the jury is now considering changing its rules and making it possible for members to leave and be replaced."