Today’s Guest Post is written by visiting writer Sherri Goodman, who shares news about the BBC’s Bad Sex Award, designed to, “‘draw attention to the crude, badly written, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.’”.
Remember Barb’s post a while back, “Homage to @SoVeryBritish?” Well, what I’m about to talk about would be a complete gold-mine of material for them.
It seems that someone has created a very convenient way for us blush while trying to be polite about a situation that makes us all uncomfortable—sex.
BBC recently published an article explaining the cringe-worthy “honor” dished out by the London-based Literary Review magazine each winter—The Bad Sex Award.
Calling itself “Britain’s most dreaded literary prize,” the title is bestowed to one author each year who is deemed to have penned the year’s worst sex scene. Think of it as the Golden Raspberry Awards (Razzies) for books, except it only takes into account the single most intimate scenes.
So who took home the award for 2014? Nigerian poet and novelist Ben Okri for his latest novel, The Age of Magic. While it’s Okri’s least prestigious accolade, it’s certainly not his most publicized. He’s actually a celebrated author who received The Man Booker Prize in 1991 for his book, The Famished Road.
The Bad Sex Award represents a very British squeamishness and humour about erotic literature
“The Bad Sex Award represents a very British squeamishness and humour about erotic literature,” said BBC writer Lucy Scholes. The aim of the prize—established by the magazine’s former editor, Auberon Waugh, in 1993—is to ‘draw attention to the crude, badly written, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.’” She went on to note that the award “tows the, ‘No sex, please, we’re British,’ line” while “indulging the more lascivious side of our national sexual character.”
As the article itself points out, you only have to look at E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey for confirmation that sex sells. Not only did her books fly off shelves, but they led to the big-budget film that’s supposed to hit theaters on Valentine’s Day in 2015. Not only that, but the series inspired a bevy of endorsements, including a not-so-surprising line of adult toys. Adam & Eve actually just released additional products to the collection they offer, and it seems to be growing with each passing day. The new toys include a triple pack of bondage tape and even a ruler made solely for spanking, among others. That all brings the total number of Fifty Shades of Grey products to over 30 items.
Until now, FSOG was the only one of its kind able to claim that kind of notoriety, but it’s possible the piece has paved the way for others to follow in its footsteps. In what could be one of the best-selling erotic books for the holiday season, Sylvia Day’s Captivated by You—it’s part of her Crossfire series—debuted at the top of e-book sales lists in late November.
The LA Times seemed impressed at the career and talent of Day, calling her a much more “prolific writer” than E.L. James. In the last decade, she has published more than 20 books in 41 languages and they were were among the biggest sellers internationally in 2012 and 2013. With the premiere of her newest novel, she’ll no doubt add 2014 to that list as well.
In terms of profit, most authors are far and away from earning what E.L. James has, so if you’re going to name “The Most Successful Erotic Novelist of 2014,” it’s would be hard to not to give it to her. However, when you consider that her books aren’t necessarily new, this year my vote goes to Sylvia Day. Captivated by You has already proved to be wildly successful, being the very first erotic novel to be named No. 1 on USA TODAY‘s Best-Selling Books list. Also, she’s already confirmed new projects that fans can look forward to in the next few months.
On the other hand, while it looks like the torch will soon be passed from James to Day, I don’t think I’m alone in my curiosity to see who takes over for Okri in 2015. Let the blushing begin!
[Operator error note: my apologies to Sherri for accidentally leaving out part of her post. I’ve restored missing bits, and hope she’ll forgive my lack of tech savvy.–Barb]
Author bio: Sherri Goodman is a freelance writer with a passion for good coffee, the perfect set of wedges, and animals of all kinds.
Currently enjoying the single life, she’s always open to sharing her dating blunders and successes with readers. When she’s not working she’s likely reading books in a homemade pillow fort or hitting the trails for hiking with her 2 and 4-legged buddies.
You can reach Sherri on twitter:@sherrigoodlove