View Full Version : The Bad Sex Awards

14th Dec 2004, 06:24
Tom Wolfe wins bad sex award
Passage in 'Charlotte Simmons' called 'ghastly'
Monday, December 13, 2004 Posted: 4:06 PM EST (2106 GMT)

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- American author and journalist Tom Wolfe won
one of the world's most dreaded literary accolades on Monday -- the British
prize for bad sex in fiction.

The prize is awarded each year "to draw attention to the crude, tasteless,
often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the
modern novel."

Wolfe won it for a couple of purple passages from his latest novel "I am
Charlotte Simmons," a tale of campus life at an exclusive U.S. university.

"Slither slither slither slither went the tongue," one of his winning
sentences begins.

"But the hand that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it
has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the
otorhinolaryngological caverns -- oh God, it was not just at the border
where the flesh of the breast joins the pectoral sheath of the chest -- no,
the hand was cupping her entire right -- Now!"

Judges described Wolfe's prose as "ghastly and boring." Wolfe has said in
interviews he intended the book's sexual descriptions to be dry and

The former newspaper correspondent, whose debut novel "Bonfire of the
Vanities" was a defining text of the 1980s, fought off stiff competition
from 10 other authors, including South African Andre Brink, whose novel
"Before I Forget" contains the following description of a woman's vulva:

"(It was) like a large exotic mushroom in the fork of a tree, a little
pleasure dome if ever I've seen one, where Alph the sacred river ran down to
a tideless sea. No, not tideless. Her tides were convulsive, an ebb and flow
that could take you very far, far back, before hurling you out, wildly and
triumphantly, on a ribbed and windswept beach without end."

Another writer who only narrowly escaped the prize was Britain's Nadeem
Aslam for his novel "Maps for Lost Lovers," a tale of life in a Muslim
community in an English town.

"His mouth looked for the oiled berry," one of his raunchiest passages

"The smell of his armpits was on her shoulders -- a flower depositing pollen
on a hummingbird's forehead," another reads.

The winner of the award, organized by the London-based Literary Review, is
given an Oscar-style statuette and a bottle of champagne -- but only if he
or she comes to the awards ceremony in person.

Organizers said Wolfe, who is based in New York, was the first writer in the
12-year history of the competition to decline his invitation.