LONDON (AP) — It’s the prize no author wants to win.
Award-winning novelist Nancy Huston won Britain’s Bad Sex in Fiction award Tuesday for her novel “Infrared,” whose tale of a photographer who takes pictures of her lovers during sex proved too revealing for the judges.
The choice was announced by “Downton Abbey” actress Samantha Bond during a ceremony at the Naval & Military Club in London.
Judges of the tongue-in-cheek prize — which is run by the Literary Review magazine — said they were struck by a description of “flesh, that archaic kingdom that brings forth tears and terrors, nightmares, babies and bedazzlements,” and by a long passage that builds to a climax of “undulating space.”
Huston, who lives in Paris, was not on hand to collect her prize. In a statement read by her publicist, the 59-year-old author said she hoped her victory would “incite thousands of British women to take close-up photos of their lovers’ bodies in all states of array and disarray.”
The Canada-born Huston, who writes in both French and English, is the author of more than a dozen novels, including “Plainsong” and “Fault Lines.” She has previously won France’s Prix Goncourt prize and was a finalist for Britain’s Orange Prize for fiction by women.
She is only the third woman to win the annual Bad Sex prize, founded in 1993 to name and shame authors of “crude, tasteless and … redundant passages of sexual description in contemporary novels.”
Some critics, however, have praised the sexual passages in “Infrared.” Shirley Whiteside in the Independent on Sunday newspaper said there were “none of the lazy cliches of pornography or the purple prose of modern romantic fiction” — though she conceded the book’s sex scenes were “more perfunctory than erotic.”
Huston beat finalists including previous winner Tom Wolfe — for his passage in “Back to Blood” describing “his big generative jockey” — and Booker Prize-nominated Nicola Barker, whose novel “The Yips” compares a woman to “a plump Bakewell pudding.”
Previous recipients of the dubious honor, usually accepted with good grace, include Sebastian Faulks, the late Norman Mailer and the late John Updike, who was awarded a Bad Sex lifetime achievement award in 2008.
More Related Stories
- Ray Manzarek, founding member of The Doors, dies at 74
- Beware of book blurbs
- Did a Salon excerpt ruin Penn Jillette's chance to win "Celebrity Apprentice"?
- Zach Galifianakis to take formerly homeless woman to "Hangover 3" premiere
- Seth MacFarlane will not host Oscars again
- "SNL's" uncomfortable Garner/Affleck moment
- "Celebrity Apprentice" finale ratings hit a new low
- Worst National Anthem fails
- The truth in Kanye's anti-prison rap
- Stephen Colbert to UVA: "You must always make the path for yourself"
- "Game of Thrones," season 3, episode 8: A salon
- Bieber booed, Miguel falls on fan at Billboard Awards
- "Mad Men" recap: Love, acid and whores. Lots of whores
- Taylor Swift leads Billboard winners
- “Game of Thrones” recap: “We must do our duty”
- "The Unwinding": What's gone wrong with America
- Michael J. Fox wins: The best and worst of the new fall shows
- First look: The Coens' marvelous folk-music odyssey
- New York's most persecuted subway artist?
- James Franco: "I really felt I was in conversation with Faulkner"
- "Jodorowsky's Dune": The sci-fi classic that never was
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11