This Year's Bad-Sex Winners

Paulo Coehlo, John Updike make shortlist for Bad Sex in Fiction award

By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User

Posted Nov 22, 2008 7:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Ten authors have joined the distinguished ranks of such literary luminaries as Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe—as nominees for the annual Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction award. The dubious honor singles out “otherwise sound literary” fiction that includes “unconvincing, perfunctory, embarrassing or redundant passages of a sexual nature,” reports the Guardian. Among the candidates: John Updike, Russell Banks, and former Tony Blair Communications Director Alastair Campbell.

Printable samples: Paulo Coehlo, in Brida, describes sex as "the moment when Eve was reabsorbed into Adam's body and the two halves became Creation." Ann Allestree's Triptych of a Young Wolf, comes complete with wolf and "hybrid" sex. And sex and soup? "He was bringing her to a pitch of ecstasy when she heard Madame Veuve, on the landing, put down the supper tray. Whiffs of onion soup strayed over them as he engulfed her. 'Don't stop,' she clamoured; she was nearly there, it was in the bag."


John Updike's novel The Widows of Eastwick is nominated for the Bad Sex in Fiction award.
John Updike's novel "The Widows of Eastwick" is nominated for the Bad Sex in Fiction award.   (AP Photo)
Alastair Campbell, a former media wonk for British PM Tony Blair, signs a copy of his book The Blair Years in London, July 18, 2007.
Alastair Campbell, a former media wonk for British PM Tony Blair, signs a copy of his book "The Blair Years" in London, July 18, 2007.   (AP Photo)
Alastair Campbell arrives at offices of ITV in London, to give television interviews, Monday July 9, 2007. His first novel, All in the Mind, is among the nominees.
Alastair Campbell arrives at offices of ITV in London, to give television interviews, Monday July 9, 2007. His first novel, "All in the Mind," is among the nominees.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Writer Paulo Coelho poses in his office in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, in this undated photo. Coelho is nominated for his novel Brida.
Writer Paulo Coelho poses in his office in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, in this undated photo. Coelho is nominated for his novel "Brida."   (AP Photo)
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I wrote the book because I had written memoirs and biographies, and thought every writer has to do a novel...and thought I've got to put sex in—every novel's got to have sex in it. - Ann Allestree, Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction award nominee

There are some which take the sex far too seriously, like Coelho, and some which have a grating change of register, like Buchan, and others that are just slightly ridiculous."
- Jonathan Beckman, Literary Review

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