Bad Book Sex

The Age of Magic

The Age of Magic by Ben Okri has been awarded the 2014 Bad Sex in Fiction Award. The award was established by the Literary Review in 1993 with the aim to not only draw attention to badly written sex scenes, but to discourage it.

While you may think that some of the contenders for this award would include the bestselling E.L. James Fifty Shades of Grey series, it doesn’t (I’m thinking the Literary Review aren’t classing such works as ‘literary fiction’). Rather Okri’s novel was selected from a shortlist of 10 contenders which included Australia’s own Man Booker Prize winning The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan.

But it turns out that not even coitus interruptus brought about by a fairy penguin can trump this:

“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 … The universe was in her and with each movement it unfolded to her. Somewhere in the night a stray rocket went off.”

The 2013 award went to Manil Suri for The City of Devi

“The hut vanishes, and with it the sea and the sands – only Karun’s body, locked with mine, remains. We streak like superheroes past suns and solar systems, we dive through shoals of quarks and atomic nuclei. In celebration of our breakthrough fourth star, statisticians the world over rejoice.”


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What do you think – is that the worst sex scene you’ve read in a book published this year, or do you have another you’d nominate for the award?

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