Baaaaad sex time again!

2009 has been a year of cringingly cheesy and often physically implausible coitus, in books of course, and to celebrate the Literary Review has posted its annual shortlist for the bad sex in fiction award.  Auberon Waugh instituted the prize back in 1993 with the aim of naming, shaming and ultimately discouraging authors from excessive literary romping.  Melvin Bragg won the inaugural award with A time to dance  and Rachel Johnson last year gained the dubious distinction of being only the second female winner with her novel Shire Hell.

The bad sex award has for many authors become a bit of a badge of honour, 2009 short-listee Richard Milward said “I’ve been there before and I’ll be there again .. There’s so much bad sex in my book that this is a nice accolade…Sex is exciting stuff – it can be vey dirty and smelly, but you’ve just got to get stuck in, and I’m not afraid of doing that.” Indeed Mr “manky” Milward!

The short-list contains some unlikely names including Booker prize winner John Banville. Banville is better known for the lyrical descriptive qualities of his novels rather than louche or lurid love scenes, but he also writes noir mysteries under the name Benjamin Black so perhaps he is gearing up for a third career as a scribe of bonktastic bodice-rippers. Esteemed American novelist  Philip Roth also makes it onto the list but having read Roth’s Sabbath’s theater several years ago and still carrying the mental scars this comes as no surprise to me. The winner/fiction filth-meister is announced on November 30th, we’ll keep you posted!

The full uncensored, X-Rated short list is:

5 thoughts on “Baaaaad sex time again!

  1. lynne 23 November 2009 / 12:12 pm

    Ah, Joycie, “physically implausible coitus” -that’s a lovely phrase.

  2. Joycie 25 November 2009 / 12:51 pm

    Yes lynne a lovely phrase but a painful concept! Cheers!

  3. tewp 30 November 2009 / 10:21 am

    Well Joycie, I think Philip Roth deserves his award. He is a great writer and normally he just writes bluntly about sex and that’s that: he’s getting on a bit so a previous novel had a lot about prostate problems and I might have thought that such things took precedence over sex. However, in “The humbling”, we have some marathon sex sessions involving a threesome with a large green (why green I don’t know) device that charges into the action. The whole thing is risible but then sex scenes and humour rarely go together as comedy would tend to deflate (phnaar, phnaar) the steamy atmosphere.

  4. joyciescotland 2 December 2009 / 3:55 pm

    Well tewp sadly Philip Roth and his green machine missed out to Jonathan Littell and The Kindly Ones. Roth may have to go back to musings on prostates, as one door closes another one opens eh?

  5. Zakananda 29 December 2009 / 5:15 am

    Love it all, good/bad sex and good literature, or maybe any attempt at rendering sexual activity into print.

    The visual analogues, as in movies/videos too often lead to a kind of libidinal meltdown that print just does not lead to since a book can be tossed against a wall when the author has transgressed by writing badly…

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