Bad Sex Day Tomorrow

The winner of the Literary Review’s annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award will be announced tomorrow (30 November).

The purpose of the prize is to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction. The prize is not intended to cover pornographic or expressly erotic literature.

Previous winners include Melvyn Bragg, Tom Wolfe, Rachel Johnson, John Updike (who received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008), David Guterson, Ben Okri and former Smiths frontman Morrissey.

Here’s this year’s shortlist:

  • The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet
  • The Destroyers by Christopher Bollen
  • Mother of Darkness by Venetia Welby
  • As a God Might Be by Neil Griffiths
  • The Future Won’t Be Long by Jarett Kobek
  • War Cry by Wilbur Smith (with David Churchill)
  • Here Comes Trouble by Simon Wroe

The Guardian has a full list of nominated passages, but I reckon this is a winner (from The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet):

He puts his hands on Bianca’s shoulders and slips off her low-cut top. Suddenly inspired, he whispers into her ear, as if to himself: ‘I desire the landscape that is enveloped in this woman, a landscape I do not know but that I can feel, and until I have unfolded that landscape, I will not be happy …’

Bianca shivers with pleasure. Simon whispers to her with an authority that he has never felt before: ‘Let’s construct an assemblage.’


Apparently, many people nominated Donald Trump for his “locker room remarks” revealed last year, but unfortunately the nominations were discounted because the award only covers fiction.

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