US writer not surprised to win 'bad sex' award

A reimagining of the Oedipus myth in the 20th century has won the annual Literary Review's Bad Sex in Fiction Award.

Ed King, the fifth novel by the American author David Guterson, pictured, beat off competition from short-listed candidates Lee Child and Chris Adrian to take the prize in a lavish ceremony at the In & Out Club in London last night.

The offending passage is introduced in the book as "the part where a mother has sex with her son" and involves the misuse of a bar of soap.

Judges were swayed by two paragraphs in particular, which read: "In the shower, Ed stood with his hands at the back of his head, like someone just arrested, while she abused him with a bar of soap.

"After a while he shut his eyes, and Diane, wielding her fingernails now and staring at his face, helped him out with two practiced hands, one squeezing the family jewels, the other vigorous with the soap-and-warm-water treatment."

Mr Guterson didn't accept the prize in person, but said: "Oedipus practically invented bad sex, so I'm not in the least bit surprised."

The award was established in 1993 to draw attention to the "crude, tasteless, and often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in contemporary novels, and to discourage it".

Tony Blair became the first non-fiction author to receive a nomination for his 2010 autobiography, A Journey, for writing: "On that night of 12 May 1994, I needed that love Cherie gave me, selfishly. I devoured it to give me strength. I was an animal following my instinct."

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