The Nobel Prize for Literature will not be handed out this year, as the Swedish Academy, the panel responsible for naming a laureate, has been engulfed in a scandal over its handling of sexual misconduct by the husband of one of its members.
Most obviously, his wife, the poet Katarina Frostenson, is herself a member, and the two are co-owners of Forum, a Stockholm cultural centre funded by the Academy - which is itself claimed to have been the setting for some of Mr. Arnault's acts of abuse, some of which date back over twenty years.
"The present decision was arrived at in view of the now diminished Academy and the reduced public confidence in the Academy", said the official statement.
Mr. Arnault has extensive links to the Swedish Academy, the body which decides the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The academy says it will now announce the 2018 victor along with the 2019 victor next year.
Committee members are part of the 18-person body for life, which is why their de-facto resignations have thrown the academy into deep trouble.
The Nobel prizes and the worldwide attention they bring are a source of pride for Sweden and the Academy has promised to improve transparency and bring its ancient rules up to date.
"Their decision underscores the seriousness of the situation and will help safeguard the long-term reputation of the Nobel Prize", the Foundation said in statement.
The motion failed, with Frostenson allowed to stay, prompting three of the Academy's 18 members to resign in protest.
"In principle, the Nobel Prize shall be awarded every year, but decisions on Nobel Prizes have been postponed on a number of occasions during the history of the prizes", Heldin said.
Frostenson was also alleged to have violated the academy's conflict-of-interest rules by failing to disclose she was co-owner of a performance venue run by her husband, which formerly received funding from the academy. "The crisis in the Swedish Academy has adversely affected the Nobel Prize".
He also allegedly leaked the names of at least seven Nobel winners, but has denied all accusations against him. "We also assume that all members of the Academy realize that both its extensive reform efforts and its future organisational structure must be characterized by greater openness towards the outside world".
The Academy "deeply regrets that the letter was shelved and no measures taken to investigate the charges", the organization said in April of the decades-old allegation. There are prizes that offer more money for excellence in other fields, such as the Templeton prize for progress in religion, but they have nothing like the prestige and name recognition of the literature prize.
She said the academy's members had "managed to turn one of Sweden's strongest and brightest brands into something dirty".
The Nobel Prize for literature is among the world's most prominent, universally accepted and lucrative cultural honours (winners receive approximately $1.3 million Cdn). American playwright Eugene O'Neill was awarded the 1936 prize a year later, in 1937, at the same time as that year's victor received his prize.
The paper said these included Bob Dylan in 2016 as well as French author Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio in 2008 and British playwright Harold Pinter in 2005.