Erri De Luca has won the 24th annual Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award for The Day Before Happiness (Allen Lane).
De Luca was given the award for a scene in the book between the Neapolitan orphan protagonist and a mysterious woman he has watched from afar.
The passage reads: “My prick was a plank stuck to her stomach. With a swerve of her hips, she turned me over and I was on top of her. She opened her legs, pulled up her dress and, holding my hips over her, pushed my prick against her opening. I was her plaything, which she moved around. Our sexes were ready, poised in expectation, barely touching each other: ballet dancers hovering en pointe.”
The award was announced at a ceremony at the In & Out (Naval & Military) Club in St James’s Square, London, last night (30th November), attended by 400 guests and presented by actor Jason Isaacs.
The judges said in a statement: “This adds a further accolade to De Luca’s already distinguished list of achievements. The winning entry is a reminder that, even in the wake of Brexit, Bad Sex knows no borders.”
The Day Before Happiness prevailed over fierce competition. The shortlist also included A Doubter’s Almanac by Ethan Canin, Tom Connolly’s Men Like Air and The Butcher’s Hook, by former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis.
De Luca was unable to attend the ceremony and unavailable for comment. He has won several other prizes, including, in the 2013 European Prize for Literature, presented to an author for a body of work "which best represents the cultural dimensions of Europe".