Bad Sex Awards: Literature Prize Honours 2011's Worst Purple Prose

Bad Sex Awards: Literature Prize Honours 2011's Worst Purple Prose

Thrusting its way deep into the public consciousness once again, Literary Review's shortlist for the Bad Sex in Literature award has been unzipped for all to admire.

The red-hot list arrived in sweaty, nervous palms on Tuesday ahead of the ceremony on 6 December.

Nominated authors for the 19th annual award, which celebrates the most embarrassing passage describing sex in a novel - not including porn or erotica - include luminaries such as Stephen King, Haruki Murakami and James Frey.

"In a year in which literary awards have come under fire for parochialism and dumbing-down, Literary Review is proud to uphold and recognise literary excellence from around the world," the Literary Review said. "Authors in the running hail from, among other nations, the USA, Hungary, Japan and Australia. Two are annually mentioned in the same breath as the Nobel Prize."

The full-length list of books nominated so far is:

  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
  • On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry
  • The Final Testament of the Holy Bible by James Frey
  • Parallel Stories by Péter Nádas
  • 11.22.63 by Stephen King
  • Ed King by David Guterson
  • The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M Auel
  • The Affair by Lee Child
  • Dead Europe by Christos Tsiolkas
  • Outside the Ordinary World by Dori Ostermiller
  • Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy
  • The Great Night by Chris Adrian.

The prize was won in 2010 by Rowan Somerville for The Shape of Her, and the award was presented by Michael Winner.

This year's winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Naval & Military Club in London.

Some of the choice quotes from this year's nominees include:

"In the shower, Ed stood with his hands at the back of his head, like someone just arrested, while she abused him with a bar of soap." (Ed King/Guterson)

"She was wearing jeans. The fabric whispered under my palm. She leaned back and her head bonked on the door. 'Ouch!' I said. 'Are you all right?'" (11.22.63/King)

"[Her breasts] seemed to be virtually uninfluenced by the force of gravity, the nipples turned beautifully upward, like a vine's new tendrils seeking sunlight." (1Q84/Murakami)

"Faster, harder, faster, harder. The room began to shake. Just faintly at first, like a mild constant tremor, like the edge of a far distant earthquake. The French door trembled in its frame. A glass rattled on the bathroom shelf. The floor quivered. The hall door creaked and shuttered. My shoes hopped and moved. The bedhead hammered against the wall. The floor shook hard. The walls boomed. Coins in my abandoned pocket tinkled." (The Affair/Child)


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