The World’s Worst Sex Writing Award 1

Did you know there’s a Literary Review award for Bad Sex in Fiction, with like a ceremony and everything? I didn’t, but I am proud to report that America WINS again! American author Jonathan Littell’s book, The Kindly Ones, took the prize this year, with such sparkling prose as this:

…Littell draws a comparison between a woman’s genitalia and “a Gorgon’s head … a motionless Cyclops whose single eye never blinks.”

“If only I could still get hard, I thought,” the winning passage continues, “I could use my prick like a stake hardened in the fire, and blind this Polyphemus who made me Nobody. But my cock remained inert, I seemed turned to stone.”

and this:

“I came suddenly, a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg”

The award was set up to “draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.” Littell “beat off” the “stiff competition” (those are The Guardian’s words, not mine) of Nick Cave, Philip Roth, John Banville and Paul Theroux for the prize, though he is not attending the ceremony.

I wonder if any of the winners actually attend this ceremony. And what do you win? Writing lessons? Clit Notes on “unacceptable analogies for genitalia”? Cause I’d like to write that pamphlet.


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