A member of the Swedish Academy that will award this year's Nobel Prize for literature on Thursday has attacked last year's inner, Elfriede Jelinek, dismissing her work as "whingeing, unenjoyable, violent pornography".
The Swedish author Knut Ahnlund said yesterday he was quitting the academy in disgust over the decision to award the 2004 prize to the Austrian novelist.
It had "caused irreparable harm to the value of the award for the foreseeable future", he wrote in the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. Ahnlund, 82, suggested that only a "tiny number" of the 18 jurors who awarded the prize to the German-speaking Jelinek had actually read any of her books. Jelinek was an "obsessive" with a "single track", Ahnlund added.
It was not clear last night why Ahnlund waited a year before delivering his tirade against Jelinek, who failed to turn up to collect her prize at last year's ceremony.
But there was suspicion that the academy member is also unhappy about the latest choice for the 2005 Nobel prize for literature, who will be named tomorrow.
There was no immediate response from Jelinek, but her German editor dismissed the suggestion that the feminist writer had not deserved the Nobel. "This is absurd. It's crazy," Delf Schmidt told the Guardian.
"I don't know why he's waited a whole year to say this. He must want to show dissent over the latest choice of laureate." He added: "Ms Jelinek combines a highly cultivated and literary style with political concerns. She deals with big themes such as Austria's past, and the violence in that past. She was a highly worthy winner."
The world's top literary award, worth 10 million crowns and given by the king in December, is usually announced on one of the first two Thursdays in October.
Unlike the Nobels for peace, medicine, physics, chemistry and economics, the literature prize date is only announced two days beforehand. The Web site www.nobelprize.org said on Tuesday it was scheduled for Thursday after 1 p.m. (1100 GMT).
But the lack of news last week gave rise to speculation the 18 Academy members were split, with a British paper reporting that the divisive choice was Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, reports Reuters.
Chinese President Xi Jinping warned his new US counterpart Joe Biden not to push Europe into an alliance against Beijing