This year’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award shortlist has been announced, this year’s horrifying entries coming from Laurent Binet, Christopher Bollen, and Jarett Kobek.
Previous winners of Britain’s most dreaded annual prize include Morrissey — for his debut novel List of the Lost — and Erri De Luca for The Day Before Happiness.
This year, many were left surprised after Sir Vince Cable managed to avoid the shortlist despite receiving “many” nominations for the award. The Literary Review, who organise the award, said Cable’s thriller Open Arms — which follows a “glamorous housewife-turned-MP” who rises through the Westminster ranks, — just wasn’t written badly enough, calling the sex "very discreet".
So, who are the contenders for this year’s award? Leading the pack comes War Cry by Wilbur Smith (with David Churchill), one particularly racy part reading: “He led her back up the beach to where the sand was dry. Then he took off his coat, placed it on the ground and she lay down upon it. ‘Christ!’ he muttered, placing himself on top of her. ‘It’s bloody cold. I might get frostbite on my cock.’ She gave a low purring laugh. ‘Silly man. Why don’t you put it somewhere hot?’”
Another comes from Laurent Binet in The Seventh Function of Language. "He puts his hands on Bianca’s shoulders and slips off her low-cut top. Suddenly inspired, he whispers into her ear, as if to himself: ‘I desire the landscape that is enveloped in this woman, a landscape I do not know but that I can feel, and until I have unfolded that landscape, I will not be happy…’ Bianca shivers with pleasure. Simon whispers to her with an authority that he has never felt before: ‘Let’s construct an assemblage.’"
And who could forget Jarett Kobek in The Future Won’t Be Long: "With Jon it was communication, a dialogue between two bodies, electric impulses transmitted over wires of flesh and bone. Words one cannot speak, words that can only be heard. Skin that became skin that became skin anew. We made love and we had sex and we had sex and we made love. But reader, again, I implore. Mistake me not. I am not your Pollyanna, I am not your sweet princess. We f**ked, we f**ked, we f**ked, we f**ked, we f**ked, we f**ked."
The winner will be announced on the 30 November at London’s The Naval and Military Club, also known as the In & Out.The shortlist in full:
The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet
The Destroyers by Christopher Bollen
Mother of Darkness by Venetia Welby
As a God Might Be by Neil Griffiths
The Future Won’t Be Long by Jarett Kobek
War Cry by Wilbur Smith (with David Churchill)
Here Comes Trouble by Simon Wroe