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Nobel Prize for Literature fund is devalued

12th June 2012

The fund for the Nobel Prize for Literature has been decreased with immediate effect, the Nobel Foundation has revealed.

Along with its sister prizes in the fields of science and medicine, the literature award is now worth SEK 8 million (GBP 730,000), which is significantly lower than last year's SEK 10 million prize fund.

According to the Nobel Foundation's board of directors, the decision has been made to reduce the value of all the Nobel Prizes in order to safeguard the long-term capital of the awards.

'The decision to lower the prize sum, from SEK 10 to 8 million, is related to the assessment that the board of directors makes today of the potential for achieving a good inflation-adjusted return on the Nobel Foundation's capital during the next several years,' the board explained.

Another reason for the decision is that the average return on the Foundation's capital has fallen short of the overall sum of all Nobel Prizes and operating expenses over the last decade.

The prizes were worth as much as SEK 11.7 million in 2001 and, although the fund has been steadily falling since then, this is the most significant reduction since 1945, during World War II.

Despite this, the Nobel Prize for Literature remains one of the richest literary awards in the world, and arguably the most prestigious, as it rewards an author's entire body of work, rather than a solitary title.

The 2012 winner will follow in the footsteps of Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer, who was awarded the prize last year for his lifetime contribution to literature.

The Academy said the decision was made because the 80-year-old 'through his condensed, translucent images, gives us fresh access to reality'.

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