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Ben Okri Wins Dreaded Bad Sex in Fiction Award

Ben Okri Bad Sex

The Age Of MagicAlert! Ben Okri has won the 2014 Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award, beating off competition from Man Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan, Haruki Murakami, Wilbur Smith and Michael Cunningham.

Okri won the 22nd edition of the annual award for his 10th novel, The Age Of Magic.

The Nigerian author, who won the Booker Prize for The Famished Road in 1991, was in South Africa recently to accept an honorary doctorate from the University of Pretoria. In an interview with Books LIVE at the time he said, perhaps presciently, that one of the problems concerning the perception of the “African writer” in the rest of the world is “you’re invisible if you’re just writing well”.

He added: “writers write and tell stories and they tell stories about what they want to write about, not what the world expects us to do”, sentiments that he reiterated in his terse statement upon winning the dreaded award: “A writer writes what they write and that’s all there is to it.”

Last year’s prize was won by Manil Suri for The City of Devi. Past winners include Melvyn Bragg (1993), Sebastian Faulks (1998), AA Gill (1999), Tom Wolfe (2004) and Norman Mailer (2007). John Updike was awarded a Bad Sex Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. In 22 years, only three women have been awarded the prize.

Read the excerpt that won Okri the award:

When his hand brushed her nipple it tripped a switch and she came alight. He touched her belly and his hand seemed to burn through her. He lavished on her body indirect touches and bitter-sweet sensations flooded her brain.

She became aware of places in her that could only have been concealed there by a god with a sense of humour. Adrift on warm currents, no longer of this world, she became aware of him gliding into her. He loved her with gentleness and strength, stroking her neck, praising her face with his hands, till she was broken up and began a low rhythmic wail. She was a little overwhelmed with being the adored focus of such power, as he rose and fell. She felt certain now that there was a heaven and that it was here, in her body. The universe was in her and with each movement it unfolded to her.

Somewhere in the night a stray rocket went off.

Full 2014 Bad Sex Award shortlist:

The Snow QueenThe Narrow Road to the Deep NorthThe Hormone FactoryColorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
The Affairs of OthersDesert GodThings to Make and BreakThe Lemon GroveThe Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle

Book details

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    December 4th, 2014 @09:31 #
     
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    ... she was a little overwhelmed!

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  • <a href="https://twitter.com/helenayp" rel="nofollow">helenep</a>
    helenep
    December 4th, 2014 @09:34 #
     
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    ... but she felt certain now that there was a heaven and that it was here, in her body. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    December 4th, 2014 @10:17 #
     
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    "Somewhere in the kitchen, some rocket went off."

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  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    December 4th, 2014 @10:26 #
     
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    @Liesl: Yeah, just a little. Haha.

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  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    December 4th, 2014 @10:27 #
     
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    But when you 'trip a switch' the power goes *off*. Surely should be 'flick', or similar, unless I'm missing something. ***Disclaimer: I'm not an electrician***

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  • <a href="http://tiahbeautement.typepad.com/quotidian/" rel="nofollow">tiah</a>
    tiah
    December 4th, 2014 @11:38 #
     
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    I, too, grew up where when the power 'tripped' it was the explanation to why the electricity was no longer making things 'go.'

    I am rather glad to see Cunnigham did not win the award since the point of the scene (or at least how I understood it when I read the book) was that the two were having bad sex. Awkward crappy sex in a needy relationship that practically wasn't a relationship and the situation was sad and a bit pathetic for all involved. Easily summed up by the FB status: It's complicated.

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  • Steven Boykey Sidley
    Steven Boykey Sidley
    December 4th, 2014 @12:06 #
     
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    Here is the prose that wins my award for the best sex writing - 'We got up and went to the bedroom. The next morning we got up late and made some coffee'

    Mysterious, nuanced, complete, unhurried, adjective-free.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    December 4th, 2014 @19:11 #
     
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    That is decidedly ungratuitous, Steven.

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