Booker winner Ben Okri has won the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award for The Age of Magic (Head of Zeus).
Okri did not attend the ceremony held last night (3rd December) at the In & Out Club in London, but Laura Palmer, editorial director of Head of Zeus, accepted the prize on his behalf. She said: “This completes every start-up publisher’s dream hat-trick: Head of Zeus have now won a Political Book Award, the Metadata Gold Standard Award, and the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award all in a single year.”
Okri’s editor Maggie McKernan said: “Winning the award is fun but a bit undignified, just like sex, assuming you do it properly.”
In a statement Okri said: “A writer writes what they write and that’s all there is to it.”
The Age of Magic is about a team of filmmakers shooting a documentary about the idea of Arcadia, who wind up in a hotel by a lake in the shadow of a looming mountain.
There they find themselves troubled by an ominous figure called Malasso. The judges awarded Okri the prize for a scene involving Lao, the documentary’s presenter, and his girlfriend Mistletoe.
Okri, who won the Booker in 1991 for The Famished Road (Vintage), was announced as the winner of the 22nd annual award by Reverend Richard Coles, whose memoir Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went from Pop to Pulpit (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) was published in October.
The other novels shortlisted for the prize were this year’s Man Booker Prize winner The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Chatto & Windus); Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Harvill Secker); The Hormone Factory by Saskia Goldschmidt (Other Press); The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Lloyd (Weidenfeld & Nicolson); Desert God by Wilbur Smith (HarperCollins); Things to Make and Break by May-Lan Tan (CB Editions); The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh (Tinder Press); Kirsty Wark’s The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle (Two Roads); and Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Cunningham’s The Snow Queen (Fourth Estate).