Man Booker winner Richard Flanagan is one of ten authors nominated for this year’s prestigious Bad Sex in Fiction Award. The prize, sponsored by the Literary Review, is looking for “the most egregious passage of sexual description in a work of fiction … The purpose of the prize is to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction, and to discourage them.” As well as Flanagan, nominees include Michael Cunningham, Ben Okri, Haruki Murakami, and Kirsty Wark.
“Whatever had held them apart, whatever had restrained their bodies before, was now gone,” writes Flanagan in The Narrow Road to the Deep North. “If the earth spun it faltered, if the wind blew it waited. Hands found flesh; flesh, flesh. He felt the improbable weight of her eyelash with his own; he kissed the slight, rose-coloured trench that remained from her knicker elastic, running around her belly like the equator line circling the world. As they lost themselves in the circumnavigation of each other, there came from nearby shrill shrieks that ended in a deeper howl.” Haruki Murakami, meanwhile, finds inspiration in nature. “The girls entwined themselves lithely around Tsukuru. Kuro’s breasts were full and soft. Shiro’s were small, but her nipples were as hard as tiny round pebbles. Their pubic hair was as wet as a rain forest. Their breath mingled with his, becoming one, like currents from far away, secretly overlapping at the dark bottom of the sea.” The Award will be presented on December 3rd.