In absolutely shocking news, E.L. James and her Fifty Shades books did not even make the shortlist for the annual Bad Sex in Fiction award. Nor did J.K. Rowling for her adult novel, The Casual Vacancy. According to the Guardian‘s Maev Kennedy, the Fifty Shades trilogy didn’t qualify because the prize doesn’t go to porn or erotic literature, just to regular novels. And Rowling’s writing wasn’t bad enough, despite “a couple of queasy moments.”
In case you haven’t heard of the Bad Sex in Fiction award, it was created in 1993 by the late Auberon Waugh, former editor of the Literary Review magazine. Its purpose was to draw attention to – and discourage – “the crude, tasteless, and often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in contemporary novels.”
The latest winner was David Guterson for his fifth novel, Ed King, a modern rewrite of the story of Oedipus. The author of Snow Falling on Cedars earned the “most coveted and dreaded literary prize” for an “over-reliance on coy terms such as ‘family jewels,’ ‘back door’ and ‘front parlour.'” The Guardian reports that Guterson wasn’t able to be there in person to accept his award of a plaster foot but “took his triumph in good spirits.”
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