For those who aren’t familiar with it, the bad sex in fiction awards was set up in 1993 by British author and journalist Auberon Waugh as a way of “gently dissuading authors and publishers from including unconvincing, perfunctory, embarrassing or redundant passages of a sexual nature in otherwise sound literary novels”.
The unflattering category which is now managed by Literary Review, has been cancelled this year as the award’s judges said they took the decision because they felt “the public had been subjected to too many bad things this year to justify exposing it to bad sex as well”, British publication The Guardian reported.
Even though some novelists may be breathing a sigh of relief, the judges warned that they should not take the cancellation as a “licence to write bad sex”.
“With lockdown regulations giving rise to all manner of novel sexual practices, the judges anticipate a rash of entries next year,” said a spokesperson.
Last year’s award was jointly won by Didier Decoin for The Office of Gardens and Ponds, which included the passage: “Miyuki felt as though she was manipulating a small monkey that was curling up its paws”, and John Harvey for Pax, in which the characters “embraced as if with violent holding they could weld the two of them one”.
“Authors are reminded that cybersex and other forms of home entertainment fall within the purview of this award. Scenes set in fields, parks or back yards, or indoors with the windows open and fewer than six people present will not be exempt from scrutiny,” concluded the Literary Review spokesperson.