What It's Like to Win the 'Bad Sex' Award

The sex scenes in Rowan Somerville's The Shape of Her are so excruciating that he was awarded the Literary Review's annual Bad Sex in Fiction prize. But you have to feel for him after reading his account of "winning".

To refresh your memory, here's one of the passages that warranted the prize:

The wet friction of her, tight around him, the sight of her open, stretched around him, the cleft of her body, it tore a climax out of him with a final lunge. Like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her.

Somerville gamely showed up to accept the award, but in a blog post he decried the "atmosphere of bullying peculiar to public schools about the whole thing." He'd worked years on his novel, which got decent reviews, "and yet here was a tiny magazine, hardly known beyond this award, deciding to make me infamous as a writer who couldn't write about sex."

Still, Somerville isn't totally down on the thing: "Let's be frank … this ridiculous award had put my novel in newspapers and websites across the world." Yes, think of all the novels with even more atrocious sex scenes that will be lost in the bargain bin of history because they weren't picked for the Bad Sex Award. The publishing industry being what it is these days, writing bad sex scenes specifically to get the award is probably an author's best shot at commercial success—the Jersey Shore model of book publicity.

[via The Rumpus]