Bad Sex


Finally, a literary contest I might have a shot at winning.  Britain’s Bad Sex in Fiction Prize winner was recently announced by the editor’s of Literary Review magazine.  The shortlist consisted of several notable luminaries, including Phillip Roth, Paul Theroux and John Banville.

The annual award is given “to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.”  Past winners include Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer, and in 2008 John Updike was given a lifetime achievement award after having reached the award’s shortlist four times since the award’s inception 17 years ago.

This year’s winner?  Jonathan Littell, for a passage from his controversial, bestselling tome The Kindly Ones. The passage describes a Nazi officer’s orgasm while sodomizing a woman locked in a guillotine as “a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg.”  Yum.

Kevin Hobson is a writer of fiction, essays, nonfiction, songs, music reviews, and industrial copy about chocolate. His stories have appeared in several journals and magazines, most recently Instant City. His is also co-curator and co-editor of BANG OUT Reading Series and Online Journal. Kevin lives in San Francisco's Mission District, where he enjoys his chronic addictions to burritos and internet television. More from this author →