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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Irishman bags Bad Sex fiction prize

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Alastair Campbell has been pipped to the Bad Sex in Literature Award by Rowan Somerville

Author Rowan Somerville has beaten Alastair Campbell to win the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award.

The Irish writer said he was honoured to be handed the award for his second novel, The Shape of Her, at the aptly named In & Out (Naval & Military) Club at St James’s Square, London.

Judges of the award said they were particularly impressed with the line: “Like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her.”

Somerville, who was handed his prize by film director Michael Winner, said: “What an honour to share a list with Jonathan Franzen and Christos Tsiolkas.

“There is nothing more English than bad sex, so on behalf of the entire nation I would like to thank you.”

A spokesman for the awards, founded in 1993, said former spin doctor Campbell ruined his chances of being awarded the prize for his novel Maya because of his “public enthusiasm” for winning such a dubious honour.

He added: “The judge’s felt that the prize’s original purpose, which was to discourage further egregious writing about sex, would not have been effective in his case.”

Other shortlisted books included The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon, Mr Peanut by Adam Ross, Heartbreak by Craig Raine and A Life Apart by Neel Mukherjee.

Auberon Waugh established the prize to draw attention to the “crude, tasteless, and often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in contemporary novels, and to discourage it”.

Last year the award was won by Jonathan Littell for The Kindly Ones.

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