UPDATE:  THE 2012 PRIZE WAS AWARDED DECEMBER 4TH.  IT WENT TO NANCY HUSTON – SEE EXCERPT BELOW.

MS. HUSTON REACTED TO THE AWARD:

In a statement, she said she hoped the win would “incite thousands of British women to take close-up photos of their lovers’ bodies in all states of array and disarray.”

Previous winners of the Bad Sex in Fiction award include Norman Mailer, Jonathan Littell and Sebastian Faulks. In 2008, John Updike was given the lifetime achievement award.

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What do Tom Wolfe, Nicholas Coleridge, Nancy Huston and Paul Mason have in common? They’re a few of the authors shortlisted for the 2012 Bad Sex In Fiction Award.

It’s a list a writer really doesn’t want to make.

The award is by Britain’s Literary Review.  It’s a Razzie of sorts for the “most embarrassing passage of sexual description in a novel.”  The purpose of the prize is to draw attention to and discourage the “crude, badly written, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel.”

This year, the publication notes that:

In a year in which the country’s obsession with mummy porn, red rooms of pain and Christian Grey has reached fever pitch, Literary Review is proud to continue its gentle chastisement of the worst excesses of the literary novel.

Ahh, but Great Britain’s best known sexual export, the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy didn’t make the list.  Why?  It wasn’t eligible.  The prize does not cover erotic literature.

Last year’s prize was won by David Guterson for his Ed King,”  published by Bloomsbury.  This year’s shortlisted novels include:

  • The Yips by Nicola Barker
  • The Adventuress by Nicholas Coleridge
  • Infrared by Nancy Huston
  • Rare Earth by Paul Mason
  • Noughties by Ben Masters
  • The Quiddity of Will Self by Sam Mills
  • The Divine Comedy by Craig Raine
  • Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

What does it take to make the list?  Peruse these excerpts from the nominated novels:

Rare Earth by Paul Mason: “She breathed hot into his neck and he plunged three rough fingers down the front of her jeans, making her squeak. She had never tried wu-wei in this situation before and Khünbish, hairy and slightly paunchy, she noticed now that he had his shirt off, was generating slightly more karmic energy than she had anticipated.”

Noughties by Ben Masters: “We got up from the chair and she led me to her elfin grot, getting amongst the pillows and cool sheets. We trawled each other’s bodies for every inch of history. I dug after what I had always imagined and came up with even more. She stroked my outlines in perfect synchrony until I was febrile in her hands, willingly guided elsewhere.”

Infrared by Nancy Huston: “He runs his tongue and lips over my breasts, the back of my neck, my toes, my stomach, the countless treasures between my legs, oh the sheer ecstasy of lips and tongues on genitals, either simultaneously or in alternation, never will I tire of that silvery fluidity, my sex swimming in joy like a fish in water…”

The Adventuress: The Irresistible Rise of Miss Cath Fox by Nicholas Coleridge: “In seconds the duke had lowered his trousers and boxers and positioned himself across a leather steamer trunk, emblazoned with the royal arms of Hohenzollern Castle. ‘Give me no quarter,’ he commanded. ‘Lay it on with all your might.’”

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe: “Now his big generative jockey was inside her pelvic saddle, riding, riding, riding, and she was eagerly swallowing it swallowing it swallowing it with the saddle’s own lips and maw — all this without a word.”

The Yips by Nicola Barker: “She smells of almonds, like a plump Bakewell pudding; and he is the spoon, the whipped cream, the helpless dollop of warm custard. She steams. He applauds, his tongue hanging out (like a bloodhound espying a raw chop in a cartoon).”

The Divine Comedy by Craig Raine: “And he came. Like a wubbering springboard. His ejaculate jumped the length of her arm. Eight diminishing gouts. The first too high for her to lick. Right on the shoulder.”

The Quiddity of Wilf Self by Sam Mills: “Down, down, on to the eschatological bed. Pages chafed me; my blood wept onto them. My cheek nestled against the scratch of paper. My cock was barely a ghost, but I did not suffer panic.”

Once again, this year, I can breathe easy because my books escaped nomination.  Then again, Erika Leonard’s (EL James) work escaped too, so I’m certainly in good company.  My work is romance rather than erotica, so it would technically be eligible, but the award seems to focus on the literary “greats” who make the mistake of grubbing in the dirt with lesser writers, like a certain Duck Lady, who is a grubber from way back.

The winner of the prize will be announced December 4th.

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