She was the first woman to announce the winner of the nobel prize for literature: at the age of 57, literary scholar sara danius, former president of the swedish academy, has died. This was announced by the academy on saturday.
In 2015, danius was appointed head of the academy that awards the nobel prize for literature. In the wake of the academy’s sexual harassment scandal, she resigned from her post in april 2018, and in february 2019 she left the academy.
Born in 1962, danius initially worked as a literary critic before focusing on an academic career. 2013 she became professor of literature at the university of stockholm. In 2014, she made public a breast cancer illness.
Danius was elected to the swedish academy in 2013. Two years later, she became the first woman to hold the post of permanent secretary of the institution, which was founded in 1786. In this capacity, she appeared in front of the media every fall for three years and announced to whom the academy would award the world’s most important literary prize.
In 2015 it was the russian author svetlana alexievich, in 2016 the u.S. Singer and songwriter bob dylan, and in 2017 the british-japanese writer kazuo ishiguro. "Everything she did was characterized by a rare strength and luminosity," the swedish academy’s announcement read.
At the end of 2017, the academy fell into a deep crisis. The scandal revolved around academy member katarina frostenson and her husband jean-claude arnault, who was accused of sexual assault and harassment by 18 women. He has since been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for rape.
Because of the scandal, no nobel prize for literature was awarded in 2018. It was awarded this year to the polish writer olga tokarczuk, while the austrian peter handke was awarded the nobel prize for 2019.
Danius had criticized this approach as recently as march of this year. Out of respect for the women concerned, the decision was made not to award a prize for 2018, she said at the time. "So you could keep in mind that something actually happened."