Ben Okri, the 55 year old Nigerian author who won the Man Booker prize, can now add The Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award to his mantelpiece. In fact it’s not only the Man Booker Prize, but also the Pulitzer Prize, the Franz Kafka Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award – these are just some of the accolades won by this year’s Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award nominees, arguably the most distinguished shortlist ever assembled. The prize is intended to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction, and to discourage them. Now in its 22nd year, it highlights “crude, badly written or perfunctory use of sexual description” in modern books. Previous winners include Melvyn Bragg, Norman Mailer and AA Gill and last year Manil Suri for The City of Devi..
So what clinched it? The Age of Magic follows a team of eight documentary makers travelling from Paris to Basel, who end up in a Swiss hotel by a lake in the shadow of a looming mountain. Judges were impressed by an erotic scene involving Lao, the documentary’s presenter, and his girlfriend, Mistletoe. “When his hand brushed her nipple it tripped a switch and she came alight. He touched her belly and his hand seemed to burn through her.” “He lavished on her body indirect touches and bitter-sweet sensations flooded her brain”
Ben Okri didn’t attend the ceremony held on the 3rd December at the In & Out Club in London. Head of Zeus, his publisher, accepted the prize on his behalf. “This completes every start-up publisher’s dream hat-trick: Head of Zeus have now won a Political Book Award, the Metadata Gold Standard Award, and the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award all in a single year.”