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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 October 2005, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Nobel judge steps down in protest
Elfriede Jelinek
Austrian author Elfriede Jelinek won the award in 2004
A member of the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Prize for Literature, has resigned in protest at the choice of last year's winner.

Knut Ahnlund said he was stepping down because the 2004 award went to Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek.

The Academy member called Jelinek's work "a mass of text shovelled together without artistic structure".

His attack on Jelinek's books and plays came days before the announcement of the 2005 winner, due on Thursday.

'Irreparable damage'

Mr Ahnlund, 82, made his attack in Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

"Last year's Nobel Prize has not only done irreparable damage to all progressive forces, it has also confused the general view of literature as an art," he wrote.

"After this, I cannot even formally remain in the Swedish Academy. As of now, I consider myself an outsider."

He also questioned whether academy members had read even a fraction of Jelinek's work.

Members' protest

Jelinek is best known for her novel The Piano Teacher, which was made into a film by Michael Haneke in 2001.

Mr Ahnlund has been a member of the academy since 1983 but has not actively taken part in its activities since 1996. The academy has 18 members appointed for life.

In 1989, two resigned in protest at the academy's failure to express support for Salman Rushdie following the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini.

The Nobel prizes are named after Alfred Nobel, the wealthy Swedish industrialist and inventor.

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