Ben Okri wins 2014 Bad Sex in Fiction Award for ‘The Age Of Magic’

Nigerian author takes the least coveted gong in the literary world


Man Booker prize-winning author Ben Okri has added another award to his tally, although this is one we’re sure won’t make it unto the mantelpiece. The author’s The Age Of Magic won the Literary Review Bad Sex In Fiction award at this year’s Bad Sex In Fiction awards ceremony. The awards now in its 22nd year was created to highlight “poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction, and to discourage them”.

Okri wasn’t available to collect the award, but he did have something to say about it, in a statement, the award-winning novelist said, “A writer writes what they write and that’s all there is to it.”

The Editorial Director of Head of Zeus, the publishers of Okri’s book Laura Palmer accepted the award on his behalf. Palmer saw the funny side of it though telling the audience, “This completes every start-up publisher’s dream hat-trick: Head of Zeus have now won a Political Book Award, the Metadata Gold Standard Award, and the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award all in a single year.”

So what swayed the judges Okri was their man? It was this passage in the book apparently,

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. She was a little overwhelmed with being the adored focus of such power, as he rose and fell. She felt certain now that there was a heaven and that it was here, in her body. The universe was in her and with each movement it unfolded to her.

Somewhere in the night a stray rocket went off. 


That’s not too bad is it?

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