Ben Okri wins bad sex prize
While they might not be everyone's cup of tea, a good literary sex scene can really make or break a novel. The best ones will have your spine tingling with excitement as you read, and can even leave you breathless! However, they can't all be winners. Sometimes, you will end up reading a sex scene that is so far from erotic that it's funny!
To celebrate poorly written sex scenes across the world of literature, the magazine Literary Review gives out a Bad Sex in Fiction Award each year to the main offender. The winner - or loser - for 2014 has just been announced: Ben Okri, for the erotic scene in his novel The Age of Magic (Head of Zeus).
The 22nd annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award was presented by the Reverend Richard Coles, the Church of England priest who was once a member of the band The Communards, at a ceremony on December 3rd at the In & Out (Naval & Military) Club in St James's Square, London. Around 400 guests were in attendance.
The novel in question is the tenth to come from the mind of Mr Okri, who won the Booker Prize in 1991. The awards really highlight how even the best authors can create awful sex scenes, as previous winners include Norman Mailer and John Updike, who won a Bad Sex Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
Among the novels on the shortlist were Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Haruki Murakami's Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, and The Snow Queen by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham.
So what was the offending passage that won Mr Okri the prize? Well, it is between the novel's protagonist - Lao - 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." The scene ends with the classic phrase: "Somewhere in the night a stray rocket went off."