Thursday 13 December 2018

Bad Sex Award 2017 goes to author who described male character's genitals as 'billiard rack'

The tongue-in-cheek prize is one of the most dreaded in the industry.

Bad Sex in Fiction Award
Bad Sex in Fiction Award

Lucy Mapstone

American author Christopher Bollen has won the Bad Sex In Fiction Award 2017 for an excerpt in his novel The Destroyers, which refers to the protagonist’s genitals as a “billiard rack”.

Bollen, who is also the editor-at-large of Interview magazine, fended off stiff competition from the likes of Wilbur Smith for War Cry, Laurent Binet for The Seventh Function Of Language and Venetia Welby for Mother Of Darkness to become the 25th winner of the Literary Review prize.

The Destroyers, which tells the dramatic story of a man who escapes to an idyllic Greek island in the wake of a personal tragedy, has received high praise from critics and readers.

The New York Times book review described it as “seductive and richly atmospheric”.

However, the Bad Sex judges were won over by a scene in which the main character Ian and a former girlfriend engage in a steamy encounter on the island of Patmos.

The excerpt included the description of the female character as being “delectably exposed”.

Another line read: “The skin along her arms and shoulders are different shades of tan like water stains in a bathtub.”

The extract, told from the point of view of Ian, continued: “Her face and vagina are competing for my attention, so I glance down at the billiard rack of my penis and testicles.”

Bollen’s achievement was announced at a ceremony at the In & Out (Naval and Military) Club in London’s St James’s Square on Thursday.

The Bad Sex judges said in a statement: “Christopher Bollen has prevailed against strong competition.

“In the week that Prince Harry announced his engagement to Meghan Markle, it seems only fitting that Britain’s most eligible literary prize has been snapped up by an American.”

The aim of the dreaded prize, awarded since 1993, is to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction.

Critically-acclaimed Italian author Erri De Luca won the award last year for his novel The Day Before Happiness.

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