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John Littell wins Bad Sex in Fiction prize

An acclaimed author who won France’s top literary award the Prix Goncourt in 2006 has been presented with this year’s Bad Sex in Fiction Prize.


John Littell’s novel The Kindly Ones was hailed as a “work of genius” by judges at the Literary Review, but the sex scenes in the novel were just too cringeworthy.

In one paragraph, the author refers to his character’s manhood as a “motionless Cyclops whose single eye never blinks”.

But the part that surely helped the Second World War saga clinch the prize was Littell’s portrayal of the moment of climax.

“I came suddenly, a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg.”

The American writer, whose book was originally published in French before it was translated to English, beat authors such as Phillip Roth and Nick Cave.

A previous winner of the Bad Sex in Fiction award is Norman Miller for his book The Castle in the Forest, which describes his protagonist’s penis as being “soft as a coil of excrement”.

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