Novelist Okri wins Bad Sex in Fiction prize

  • By Jill Lawless Associated Press
  • Wednesday, December 3, 2014 4:15pm
  • Life

LONDON — Booker Prize-winning Nigerian writer Ben Okri has won the uncoveted Bad Sex in Fiction Award, a prize for erotic literary encounters that push all the wrong buttons.

The writer took the tongue-in-cheek honor Wednesday for conjuring an over-the-top passage in his novel “The Age of Magic.”

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

Okri, who won the prestigious Booker Prize in 1991 for “The Famished Road,” beat finalists including this year’s Booker winner, Richard Flanagan; Japanese literary star Haruki Murakami; and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Cunningham.

The Bad Sex award was founded in 1993 to name-and-shame authors of “poorly written, perfunctory or redundant” passages of sexual description. Explicitly pornographic works are not eligible for the prize, run by the Literary Review magazine.

Previous recipients — most of whom have accepted the prize with good humor — include Tom Wolfe, Sebastian Faulks, the late Norman Mailer and the late John Updike, who was awarded a Bad Sex lifetime achievement award in 2008.

Okri did not attend Wednesday’s ceremony in London.

“A writer writes what they write and that’s all there is to it,” he said in a statement.

His editor, Maggie McKernan, said winning the award “is fun but a bit undignified, just like sex, assuming you do it properly.”

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