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Margaret Atwood, Anne Carson, and Kim Thúy to compete for Nobel alternative

Canadian authors Margaret Atwood, Anne Carson, and Kim Thúy have been longlisted for the New Academy Prize in Literature, an alternative to the Nobel Prize in Literature. The 2018 Nobel was cancelled in May following sexual and financial scandals. In April, six members left the Swedish Academy that awards the prize.

Now 46 writers chosen by Swedish librarians will be named to a shortlist in an online public vote running through Aug. 14. In addition to the three Canadian writers, the eclectic list includes Nigerian feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Italian novelist Elena Ferrante; American musician, poet and memoirist Patti Smith; Japanese surrealist writer Haruki Murakami; and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

The organization aims to raise 1 million kronor (nearly $150,000 CAD) for its grand prize. Unlike the Nobel, the New Academy’s shortlist will be comprised of two men and two women. Since the prize was first awarded in 1901, only 14 women have won the Nobel.

The Swedish Academy intends to reinstate the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2019, when it will present two prizes. The last year that the Nobel Prize in Literature was not presented was 1949, when none of the nominees were considered worthy of the prize.