- Associated Press - Friday, August 31, 2018

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - Two former members of the prestigious body that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature who quit in the wake of a sex abuse and financial crimes scandal have dismissed reports they were returning to the Swedish Academy.

Former permanent secretary Sara Danius wrote on her Facebook page Friday that “presently, I have no such plans.” She said a report from Swedish newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet, “was erroneous.”

Peter Englund, another board member who quit in April, told Sweden’s news agency TT that “currently I have no plans to return to work” at the Swedish Academy.

“However, I wish to play a constructive role in the rebuilding of this institution. This means I possibly will vote in the current election of new members,” he added.

Svenska Dagbladet, one of Sweden’s largest dailies and traditionally well-informed on the academy and its members, reported Thursday that Danius, Englund and Kjell Espmark will rejoin the secretive 18-member body whose members are appointed for life.

They were among seven board members who stepped down in April after scandal engulfed the body. According to academy statutes, new members can only be elected if there are 12 board members present.

In May, the academy announced that no prize will be awarded this year.

Jean-Claude Arnault, a Swedish cultural figure, was charged in June with two counts of rape of a woman in 2011. The husband of academy member Katarina Frostenson, Arnault has denied the allegations. Frostenson quit in April at the same time as Danius.

Danius, Espmark and Englund earlier had said they would be willing to return if fellow member Horace Engdahl, a supporter of Arnault who had labelled them a “clique of sore losers,” left the body.

Svenska Dagbladet on Thursday quoted Espmark as saying that they had reversed their stance because “we have to ask ourselves the question: what is most important - the well-being of the academy or a personal issue?”

He told the TT news agency that “our loyalty lies with the academy.”

Many in the Scandinavian nation, known for promoting gender equality, have expressed dismay over the scandal, which has exposed bitter divisions within the academy and given rise to accusations of patriarchal leanings among some members.

A protest that grew out of what began as Sweden’s own #MeToo moment in November hit the academy when 18 women came forward in a Swedish newspaper with accusations against Arnault.

In April, the Swedish Academy said an internal investigation into sexual misconduct allegations found that “unacceptable behavior in the form of unwanted intimacy” has taken place within the ranks of the prestigious institution.

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