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The Swedish AcademyƂ mentioned this morning the 2018 prize will now be given in 2019 following a scandal which has rocked the organisation.

First, Arnault's wife, Katarina Frostenson, stepped down as a member of the academy last month in the wake of the allegations and after an extraordinary intervention from Sweden's King and Prime Minister to minimize the swirling scandal.

"The present decision was arrived at in view of the now diminished Academy and the reduced public confidence in the Academy".

The delay for the 2018 prize in literature will not affect other awards, the Nobel Foundation statement said.

"The present decision was arrived at in view of the now diminished academy and the reduced public confidence in the academy", the Swedish Academy said in a statement.

This is the first time since 1949, that the jury which handles the world's most prestigious literary awards will not announce a victor this year, but would announce two winners in 2019.

Bjorn Hurtig, the lawyer representing Arnault, has said his client denies the allegations.

Committee members are part of the 18-person body for life, which is why their de-facto resignations have thrown the academy into deep trouble.

Dorotea Bromberg, of Swedish publishing house Brombergs, which has published four Nobel laureates, including JM Coetzee, said the academy's postponement "was a pity", but understood the reasoning.

In connection with its decision to postpone the prize, the Swedish Academy said it had begun a wide-ranging project to alter the way it conducted its business while still seeking to respect its historic legacy.

While the awarding of Nobel Prizes have been cancelled or postponed in the past, it's a rare occurrence.

The Academy only awards the prize for literature, so other Nobel Prizes are not affected.

The Academy also disclosed that an investigation had shown that the names of some prize winners-the subject of lively betting-had been leaked.

"It think this was a necessary decision, mainly in regard to the legitimacy of the prize", Peter Englund, one of the six members to have left the Academy in recent weeks, told Reuters in an email regarding the decision to postpone the prize.

After cutting ties with Arnault, the Academy held a vote on whether to exclude Frostenson from the body for allegedly breaching conflict of interest rules and divulging names of prize winners to her husband, who could then leak them.

In a statement in April, the Swedish Academy said it "deeply regrets that the letter was shelved and no measures taken to investigate the charges".

She said the academy's members had "managed to turn one of Sweden's strongest and brightest brands into something dirty". This is the biggest scandal the award has seen since it was first started in 1901.

The Nobel Prize for literature is among the world's most prominent, universally accepted and lucrative cultural honours (winners receive approximately $1.3 million Cdn).

The prestigious award will not be given out this year.

The 2017 victor was Kazuo Ishiguro, the Japanese-born British author of "The Remains of the Day" and "Never Let Me Go".