Mailer champions bad sex from beyond the grave

Hats (and, indeed, all other items of clothing) off to Norman Mailer, who last night picked up his first posthumous accolade: the 2007 Bad Sex in Fiction Award.

The dreaded gong was established by the late Auberon Waugh in 1993, when, as editor of The Literary Review, he determined to recognise and condemn the very worst descriptions of sex written in the English language.

Mailer won the prize for his novel The Castle In The Forest, specifically this extract: "Uncle was now as soft as a coil of excrement. She sucked on him nonetheless... The Hound began to come to life. Right in her [continues at length]."

In Mailer's corporeal absence, the 400 or so guests at the In & Out (Naval and Military) Club in St James's simply toasted the man of letters. "We are sure he would have taken the prize in good humour," said the judges.

The actual trophy was presented by the former model Marie Helvin to debut author Richard Milward, 24, for a truly dire extract from Apples: "She had on no knickers, and my heart went crash-bang wallop and my eyes popped out. She hadn't shaved..."

A judge commented: "Richard was the youngest writer on the shortlist and should be discouraged from this."

Jeanette Winterson, Ali Smith and Christopher Rush ("O, glorious pubes! The ultimate triangle...") were among the authors to escape narrowly.

Maybe Mailer and Waugh can snigger about it, sitting on a cloud somewhere.

Hix to serve an English feast fit for a supermodel

After his triumph earlier this year in the BBC series Great British Menu, Mark Hix is sharpening his well-worn kitchen knives for a fresh challenge.

In March, Hix, the chef-director of The Ivy and The Independent's cookery writer, has undertaken to cook for Jemima Khan, Sophie Dahl, Laura Bailey and 350 of their guests at The Feast of Albion, a charity dinner organised by concierge company Quintessentially. The food will be sourced by testicle-eater Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

The pair have work to do to live up to this year's effort by Tom Aikens. He recreated an 1867 eight-course Franco-Russian Imperial Banquet – The Diner des Tsars – and served it at London's Guildhall for £1,500 a head.

Khan and Dahl will host the 2008 evening on behalf of organic food wallahs The Soil Association.

"I need to do some brainstorming with Hugh," murmurs Hix.

From one world to another

Having left the companionship of the Timelord last year, Billie Piper will delight dads up and down the land by returning to the BBC in 2008, reprising her role as Doctor Who's sidekick Rose Tyler.

Announcing the return of its children's teatime sci-fi series, the Beeb press release says that Piper has "won a number of awards for her performances".

And so she has! Lest we forget, just last week Piper was nominated for "Best Softcore Production" at the UK Adult Film and Television Awards.

The committee praised Piper for her "brave" performances as prostitute Belle de Jour in ITV2's The Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which "help a nation move closer to an understanding of itself." The ceremony is tomorrow evening. Pause buttons at the ready!

Office politics

On Monday, Sajjad Karim, the first Muslim MEP, defected from the Liberal Democrats to the Tories. None were more surprised than his staff, who were brushing their teeth for work when the bombshell dropped. "They didn't know Karim had been plotting," says a source. "His office was cleared over the weekend. Staff were given letters only on Monday morning, saying their contracts were terminated immediately, with two months' pay."

Karim, 37, has a Facebook profile, which on Monday still showed his membership of the group "Am I the only one who doesn't like David Cameron".

Karim sacked one worker by popping a letter through his front door at 7am. Karim then told a female employee, 21, to meet a third party, who gave her the relevant paperwork. Cheerio!

Beastly burden

As part of its campaign against whiffy Japanese whalers pursuing their bloody South Pacific harvest, Greenpeace has decided to name a humpback. The lucky, melodious beast will be tagged and monitored for long-term research along the Great Whale Trail from the Pacific to the Southern Ocean. Joe Public can vote online to decide the name. Twenty-seven of Greenpeace's 29 proposed monikers are highfalutin' nonsense: there's Aiko ("little love" in Japanese), Kigai ("strong spirit") and Atticus (after Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird). Don't they know what a name like that could do to a large sea-dwelling mammal's self-confidence? Thank goodness, then, for public opinion, which has pushed "Mister Splashy Pants" up to 65 per cent of votes cast. "Libertad" is second with 4 per cent. The poll closes on Friday.


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