Yesterday Peter Englund succeeded Horace Engdahl in the prestigious position as secretary (ie. leader) of the Swedish Academy. Englund, a 52-year-old historian who enjoys great popularity, has been a member of the Academy since 2002 and is currently its youngest member – a position he will cede to Lotta Lotass when she in December takes up the chair vacated by the death of former Marshal of the Realm Sten Rudholm last year.
The Swedish Academy was founded by King Gustaf III in 1786 and has eighteen members. Internationally it is best known for awarding the Nobel Prize in Literature, frequently making unexpected choices. As recently as 2005 Professor Knut Ahnlund left the Academy in protest against the Prize being given to Elfriede Jelinek the previous year.
Peter Englund has a popular blog which can be found here:
The news magazine Fokus’s issue 22 (of 29 May) has more on the Academy and the change of secretary:
Fokus also has interesting articles on the infighting in the American Republican party and the countries of the former Eastern Bloc twenty years after the near-democratic election in Poland on 4 June 1989 marked the beginning of the Iron Curtain’s collapse: