Japan’s Murakami Withdraws Nomination From Alternate Nobel Award

The author withdrew from consideration, citing his wish to concentrate on writing. 

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Japanese author Haruki Murakami.
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Japanese author Haruki Murakami withdrew his nomination from Sweden's alternative to the Nobel prize for literature, citing his wish to concentrate on writing as the reason behind his decision. The news was made public on Saturday, 15 September.

Following the sexual misconduct scandal in the Swedish Academy that postponed the Nobel prize in literature and ceremony, the New Academy Prize was set up as an alternate. According to a report published in The Guardian, the New Academy Prize was set up with the aim that "literature should be associated with democracy, openness, empathy and respect.” It was set up by Swedish cultural figures.

In 2017, a member of the Academy was accused of sexual abuse, after which six members stepped down, according to CNN. The 2018 Nobel prize for literature would therefore be given in 2019.

"We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the academy before the next laureate can be announced," Anders Olsson, the academy's permanent secretary had then said in a statement.

In a Facebook post, The New Academy said that while the author is honored to be considered for the accolade, he has asked to withdraw from the prize because his preference was to concentrate on his writing and away from “media attention”.

The academy said it regretted the decision.

Haruki Murakami withdraws from The New Academy Prize in Literature Stockholm, September 15, 2018 – As previously...

Posted by Den Nya Akademien - litteraturpriset 2018 on Saturday, September 15, 2018

Murakami was nominated with three others, namely British-born author Neil Gaiman, Guadeloupean novelist Maryse Conde, and Vietnam-born Kim Thuy, who, according to the Facebook post, have “expressed enthusiasm” for their nomination.

The jury will announce the winner in October.

Juan Antonio Perez Sobrado, a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, commented on Facebook that Murakami withdrew his nomination because "he knows the writer selected" for the alternative prize will lose "the opportunity to win the real Nobel Prize for Literature". There has been speculation in literary circles since a while about Murakami’s nomination for the Nobel.

Several other authors tipped for the Nobel appeared on the librarians' list of nominees including Canadian Margaret Atwood, the Americans John DeLillo and Joyce Carol Oates, and the Israeli Amos Oz.

Authors who have never been tipped for the Nobel, including JK Rowling, writer of the popular Harry Potter series, and novelists Sara Stridsberg and Kerstin Ekman, who have resigned from the Swedish Academy, were also listed by the New Academy.

(With inputs from PTI, The Guardian, Japan Times)

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