Bad Sex In Fiction Awards 2014: Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination

The Australian author joins seven other celebrated authors on the shortlist of an award to draw attention to badly written sex scenes

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The Independent Culture

He might have been awarded the literary world’s most precious accolade last month, but Australian author and Man Booker winner Richard Flanagan is also in line for a less illustrious gong: the Bad Sex In Fiction Award.

Flanagan’s Booker winner, The Narrow Road To The Deep North, is up against Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark’s novel The Legacy Of Elizabeth Pringle.

The competition aims to draw attention to "poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction, and to discourage them".

The shortlist of ten books chosen by Literary Review also includes Ben Okri and esteemed writer Haruki Murakami.

The offending passage in Flanagan’s novel reads: 

“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.”

“Dorrigo looked up. A large dog stood at the top of the dune. Above blood-jagged drool, its slobbery mouth clutched a twitching fairy penguin."

Announcing the nominees for the award, which will be given on 3 December, the magazine said: "The judges also considered Andrew Marr's Head Of State, which started arrestingly - 'they bucked like deer and squirmed like eels. And after that, vice-versa' - but failed to sustain its early promise.

This year marks the 22nd annual award and the current holder is Manil Suri for The City of Devi.