It’s Awards Season. We recently cheered the CMA’s, the AMA’s and the Oscars will be announced any day. Somehow we missed the Bad Sex In Fiction Awards. I know right? How on earth did that one get passed us? Sex and literature all rolled into one delicious mess. Squee.
Seems the award has been around for a while. It’s the brainchild of The Literary Review, the British magazine founded in 1979 by the head of the English department at Edinburgh University. Evidently, The Review is well known for this annual gift to writers. It’s given to the author who pens the worst sex scene in a novel.
Imagine the party conversation. What do you do? I search far and wide for the worst sexual drivel I can find. And you?
Want more? The trophy itself is a naked woman draped across an open book. The originators purpose is, “to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.” How delicious.
Do you think they mean nipple hardening, breath quickening, back arching and manhood in all its glory?
Even more interesting is the list of finalists this year. Michael Cunningham of “The Hours” fame, yes a Pulitzer Prize winner, makes the list. He’s a senior lecturer of creative writing at Yale. Hopefully, creative porn is not on the syllabus.
Another surprise? Richard Flanagan’s, “The Narrow Road to the Deep North,” widely considered one of the year’s great books, includes this, “Hands found flesh, flesh, flesh. He felt the improbable weight of her eyelash with his own; he kissed the slight, rose-coloured trench that remained from her knicker elastic, running around her belly like the equator line circling the world.”
The cad! To mention that a lady’s panties were so tight they left a trench across her orb-like middle is akin to us mentioning that size really does matter. Asshat.
Andrew Marr’s “Head of State,” offers, “They bucked like deer and squirmed like eels. And after that, vice versa.” Don’t deer rut? Just sayin’.
But the winner? Oh the winner. Mr. Ben Okri, an established novelist who won the Booker prize in 1991, has a host of literary accolades next to his name.
Okri begins, “When his hand brushed her nipple it tripped a switch and she came alight,” and ends with, “Somewhere in the night a stray rocket went off.” Aren’t you dying to know what he says right at that moment? The moment when the stray rocket goes off? And that chick must have some set of nipples. Think about it.
His response to the honor is less than enthusiastic. “A writer writes what they write and that’s all there is to it.”
Perhaps it’s a bit like being called out on your overlarge motorcycle or muscle car. Hopefully, it’s a fail on the page and not in the bedroom. It would, indeed, be tragic to have such a grasp on language and be unable to utter in the name of love. Perhaps these writers are so swept away words fail them; leaving nothing more than cliché.
Or perhaps all that bucking and nipple brushing has clouded their vision.