Britain’s Literary Review has bestowed the dubious honor of the 21st annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award to Manil Suri’s The City of Devi, set in Mumbai during a nuclear bomb threat. Actress Joan Collins presented the award Tuesday night at the In & Out (Naval & Military) Club in London.
In a statement, the journal singled out the climax scene involving the three main characters — “Sarita, her physicist husband Karun, who has disappeared, and Jaz, a young gay Muslim”:
Surely supernovas explode that instant, somewhere, in some galaxy. 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.
Past winners of the Bad Sex in Fiction Award include Norman Mailer (posthumously in 2007) for his description of the moment in which Adolf Hitler was conceived in The Castle in the Forest and Tom Wolfe in 2004 for the college hookup scenes in I Am Charlotte Simmons. In 2008, the publication gave a Bad Sex Lifetime Achievement Award to John Updike (1932–2009).
Maybe browse past winners and learn how not to write a sex scene for next year’s National Novel Writing Month.