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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012 12:30 pm
Bad Sex Shortlist
Posted by: Keir Graff

It’s my favorite time of year again. Thanksgiving? Not on your life. I’m referring to the titillating and tantalizing twittering and tittering that precedes the awarding of the Bad Sex prize. Yes, on December 4, Britain’s best-loved literary magazine will offer Britain’s most-dreaded literary award to the writer who best embodies “crude, badly written, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel.”

No need to panic if you can’t wait a couple of weeks for the seamy details. We have the shortlist—ahem—in hand. And, shockingly, E. L. James and J. K. Rowling, whose use of initials seem to indicate a desire for anomynity in the face of literary deviance, have both failed to make the list. For juicy quotes, hide this page from the Guardian between your Jonathan Franzen, or follow #LRBadSex2012 on Twitter. I’m making Tom Wolfe the early favorite.

Now his big generative jockey was inside her pelvic saddle, riding, riding, riding, and she was eagerly swallowing it swallowing it swallowing it with the saddle’s own lips and maw—all this without a word.

The Bad Sex in Fiction Shortlist

The Yips, by Nicola Barker
The Adventuress, by Nicholas Coleridge
Infrared, by Nancy Huston
Rare Earth, by Paul Mason
Noughties, by Ben Masters
The Quiddity of Will Self, by Sam Mills
The Divine Comedy, by Craig Raine
Back to Blood, by Tom Wolfe

For a behind-the-curtains look at bad sex (the award), read Jonathan Beckman’s “Bleak Encounters,” which appeared in Financial Times last year.

Or watch this funny—if anticlimactic (sorry)—video, in which the judges hunt for dirty books.

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