The Brits Condemn Bad Sex in Literary Fiction


Leave it to those outwardly uptight but inwardly lusty British to invent the Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award, given only to works of literary fiction, now in its 14th year.

Watch out: There's bad sex in hereThis year’s winner is 25-year-old first-time novelist Iain Hollingshead,  for certain passages in his novel, Twenty Something. In part of the offending scene, Hollingshead writes about “a commotion of grunts and squeaks, flashing unconnected images and explosions of a million little particles.” (I can see why he won.)

In a ceremony at London’s Naval & Military Club, Courtney Love presented Hollingshead with an abstract statue said to resemble sex in the 1950s. Other runners-up included Tim Willcock‘s The Religion, Thomas Pynchon‘s Against the Day and Mark Haddon‘s A Spot of Bother, among others. I take comfort in the fact that only one woman was nominated: Julia Glass for her novel The Whole World Over, about a Manhattan pastry chef who moves to New Mexico. Perhaps this indicates that men, in general, are worse at sex scenes? Hee.

Read excerpts from the nominees here. But first, a word of warning: These excerpts contain sentences such as “Now she made a noise like a tortured Moomintroll.” This sentence alone forced me to do some quick research on what in tarnation is a Moomintroll. Apparently they are a family of Scandinavian trolls who are white, furry, round and have large snouts, created by Finnish writer Tove Jansson.

Um, wow.

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