Bad Sex

The Literary Review has announced its nominees for the 2007 Bad Sex Award. The award supposed draws attention to “the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description … and to discourage it” in modern literary novels. In fact it’s just an excuse to talk about sex and make fun of writers who sells more books than you do. Here’s the list:

  • Jeanette Winterson, The Stone Gods
  • Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach
  • Richard Milward, Apples
  • Ali Smith, Girl Meets Boy
  • Maria Peura, At the Edge of Light
  • James Delingpole, Coward on the Beach
  • David Thewlis, The Late Hector Kipling
  • Norman Mailer, The Castle in the Forest
  • Quim Monzo, The Enormity of the Tragedy
  • Gary Shteyngart, Absurdistan
  • Christopher Rush, Will
  • Claire Clark, The Nature of Monsters

McEwan may have the inside track with passages like these:

Like most young men of his time, or any time, without an easy manner, or means to sexual expression, he indulged constantly in what one enlightened authority was now calling ‘self-pleasuring’ … How extraordinary it was, that a self-made spoonful, leaping clear of his body, should instantly free his mind to confront afresh Nelson’s decisiveness at Aboukir Bay.

Because the instrument was a cello rather than her violin, the interrogator was not herself but a detached observer, mildly incredulous, but insistent too, for after a brief silence and lingering, unconvincing reply from the other instruments, the cello put the question again, in different terms, on a different chord, and then again, and again, and each time received a doubtful answer.

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  1. I like that bit about it being just an excuse to talk about sex and make fun of those who sell more books than you do. Quite devastating really. Do these guys read your blog?

  2. A bit of snark when discussing more popular authors (obviously less deserving as well) never comes amiss.

  3. This one really tickled my funny bone: Bad sex award! 🙂

  4. Stop Press – Norman Mailer has just won the award! Forwarding the news item by separate email!

  5. Here’s a quote from the passage: “His mouth lathered with her sap, he turned around and embraced her face with all the passion of his own lips and face, ready at last to grind into her with the Hound, drive it into her piety.”

    Uh, we definitely don’t want some guy’s hound anywhere NEAR our piety.

    Yup – I think he deserves the price. Blech!

  6. Why wasn’t my husband nominated? lol