Christopher Bollen has won the 25th annual Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award for The Destroyers (Harper).
Judges were swayed by a scene involving The Destroyers’ protagonist, Ian, and his former girlfriend on the island of Patmos, where their relationship has been rekindled: “She covers her breasts with her swimsuit. The rest of her remains so delectably exposed. The skin along her arms and shoulders are different shades of tan like water stains in a bathtub. Her face and vagina are competing for my attention, so I glance down at the billiard rack of my penis and testicles.”
Bollen, who is based in New York, was unable to attend the ceremony.
The judges said in a statement: “Christopher Bollen has prevailed against strong competition. In the week that Prince Harry announced his engagement to Meghan Markle, it seems only fitting that Britain’s most eligible literary prize has been snapped up by an American.”
Among the other shortlisted books were The Seventh Function of Language by Prix Goncourt winner Laurent Binet (Vintage), which contained a line that read: “Bianca grabs Simon’s dick, which is hot and hard as if it’s just come out of a steel forge, and connects it to her mouth-machine”; Venetia Welby’s Mother of Darkness (Quartet), selected for passages such as: “The green grass curls around Tera’s left breast as she curves her sleek physique around Matty’s diabolical torso like a vine. Paralysed, complete, the marble statue of the lovers allows itself to be painted by the dawn’s lurid orange spillage”; and War Cry by Wilbur Smith (HarperCollins), which contained this line: “He kissed her and she responded and the boundaries between them blurred, like two watercolours on a piece of paper, joining as one to create something entirely new”.
Also nominated where As a God Might Be by Neil Griffiths (Dodo Ink), The Future Won’t Be Long by Jarett Kobek (Serpent’s Tail), and Here Comes Trouble by Simon Wroe (W&N).
The award was announced last night (30th November) at the In & Out (Naval & Military) Club in St James’s Square, London.
Last year's award was won by Erri De Luca for The Day Before Happiness (Allen Lane).