Gilbert and Costello on Bad Sex in Fiction Award shortlist

Gilbert and Costello on Bad Sex in Fiction Award shortlist

Books by Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert and Mary Costello are in the running for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award this year.

Gilbert appears on the shortlist for City of Girls (Bloomsbury), which includes the line: “Then I screamed as though I were being run over by a train, and that long arm of his was reaching up again to palm my mouth, and I bit into his hand the way a wounded soldier bites on a bullet.”

Didier Decoin picks up a nomination for The Office of Gardens and Ponds (MacLehose Press), while John Harvey’s Pax (Holland House) and Dominic Smith's The Electric Hotel (Allen & Unwin) also appear.

The River Capture by Mary Costello (Canongate) is also nominated for a passage including the line: “She begged him to go deeper and, no longer afraid of injuring her, he went deep in mind and body, among crowded organ cavities, past the contours of her lungs and liver, and, shimmying past her heart, he felt her perfection.”

Established by critic Rhoda Koenig and then Literary Review editor Auberon Waugh, the annual prize for which authors least wish to be nominated draws attention to “the poorly written, redundant, or downright cringeworthy passages of sexual description in modern fiction”.

The magazine said Jeanette Winterson’s Frankissstein and Michel Houellebecq’s Serotonin had “narrowly missed out” on the shortlist.

The winner of the award will be announced on 2nd December.

Last year’s prize was won by James Frey for Katerina (John Murray).