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The literary award nobody wants to win

November 16, 2014

It’s a tough life at the top of your literary career, as author Richard Flanagan has just found out. Is his nomination for the UK’s Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award 2014 a touch of sour grapes I wonder? After all we are talking about the 2014 Man Booker Prize winner. Or maybe I’m just being a touch protective?

Flanagan is one of ten nominees, and here is an extract from the scene in question:

Whatever had held them apart, whatever had restrained their bodies before, was now gone. If the earth spun it faltered, if the wind blew it waited. Hands found flesh; flesh, flesh. He felt the improbable weight of her eyelash with his own; he kissed the slight, rose-coloured trench that remained from her knicker elastic, running around her belly like the equator line circling the world. As they lost themselves in the circumnavigation of each other, there came from nearby shrill shrieks that ended in a deeper howl. Dorrigo looked up. A large dog stood at the top of the dune. Above blood-jagged drool, its slobbery mouth clutched a twitching fairy penguin.

I leave it up to you, and the judges, to decide, but before you scoff, perhaps have a go at writing a sex scene yourself. Are you going to err on the side of caution and adopt the ‘heaving bosoms’ and ‘throbbing members’ of some romance novels or will you cut to the thrust, so to speak, and get dirty? Either way, writing good sex scenes is incredibly difficult.
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