Bad Sex in Fiction Award: Which books beat out J.K. Rowling, 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

quiddity-or-will-self

Think you’ve had enough exposure to bad sex lit lately? (Ellen Degeneres, Kristen Stewart and your Facebook friends made sure you didn’t escape the abundance of Fifty Shades of Grey excerpts floating around the Interwebs this year.) Well, whether you like it or not, there’s more out there. A lot more. Award-worthy more.

But by award-worthy, I mean Razzie-esque awards. That’s right, authors are annually bestowed with the prize that recognizes gag-worthy writing about the bedroom. It’s an award that British magazine Literary Review started in 1993. On Tuesday, the magazine unveiled its 2012 shortlist for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award. Check out the list of eight finalists below:

The Yips by Nicola Barker
The Adventuress: The Irresistible Rise of Miss Cath Fox by Nicholas Coleridge
Infrared by Nancy Huston
Rare Earth by Paul Mason
Noughties by Ben Masters
The Quiddity of Will Self by Sam Mills
The Divine Comedy by Craig Raine
Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

Now how did Fifty Shades of Grey manage to escape this dubious honor? Well, on a technicality. The book wasn’t eligible, The Guardian reports, because “the prize’s rubric explicity excludes pornographic and erotic literature,” said Johnathan Beckman, Literary Review senior editor.

The Internet has also been quick to mention another 2012 book that could have had a spot on the list: J.K. Rowling’s first foray into writing for adults, The Casual Vacancy. EW reviewer Rob Brunner pointed out that the novel is chock-full of tawdry sex, rape and pedophilia. So it certainly qualifies for the “Sex” part of the Bad Sex in Fiction Award. Apparently, it just wasn’t bad enough, Beckman told the The Guardian.

As for the books that did make the list, here are a couple reasons this year’s finalists will go down in Bad Sex in Fiction history: Wolfe has been nominated for the second time; Coleridge and Raine are also returning to the shortlist; and Mills has managed to make the list for writing a book about a man (Will Self) who has been a finalist for the award three times.

The winner for this year’s prize will be announced on Dec. 4.

Now, we know you’re just itching to know just what wince-worthy descriptions of the beast with two backs earned these books a spot on the list. Move on to the next page for some of the passages that are probably highlighted and dog-eared in the copies of Literary Review staffers.

Next page: Excerpts from the 2012 Bad Sex in Fiction Award shortlisted novels

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