Readersforum's Blog

November 21, 2012

Bad sex awards 2012 shortlist leaves out JK Rowling and EL James

The Casual Vacancy and the Fifty Shades trilogy overlooked for dreaded literary prize.

By Maev Kennedy

The two authors heavily tipped to take this year’s most coveted and dreaded literary prize have failed to make the shortlist. Neither JK Rowling, for her first adult novel, nor EL James for her Fifty Shades trilogy, will be adding the bad sex trophy to their mantelpieces.

Jonathan Beckman, senior editor at the Literary Review, which organises the annual award, said nominations had poured in for Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. However, after ardent discussions about the book, the judges concluded she failed to meet the criteria. Despite “a couple of queasy moments”, as Beckman termed it, her writing is not nearly bad enough.

The bad sex prize was established “to draw attention to the crude and often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel – and to discourage it”.

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March 22, 2012

New censorship is about money, not ethics

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 9:01 am

New censorship is about money, not ethics

By Ariel Bogle

As we have been discussing on MobyLives, publishing is awash with instances of arbitrary censorship.  For example, here by Apple and here by Paypal.  It is apparent that journalists and editors are no longer afraid of big government, but quake before big business and big money.  Private bodies whose influence is both far-reaching and hard to predict.

Nick Cohen argues in The Literary Review for a new way of thinking about censorship.  To begin with, Cohen asks why challenging writing about economic crises is so rare, given there are thousands of articles about the foibles of politicians.

“You no more hear writers and broadcasters admit that they are frightened of investigating investment banks than you hear them admit that they are frightened of challenging the founding myths of Islam. We cannot puncture our own myth that we are fearless seekers after truth, even though, if we honestly owned up to our limitations, we might force society to confront the fact that modern censorship does not conform to old models. It is a mistake to think of repression as repression by the state alone. In much of the world it still is, but in Britain, America and most of continental Europe the age of globalisation has done its work, and it is privatised rather than state forces that threaten freedom of speech.”

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November 22, 2011

Bad sex awards: the contenders for a night at the In and Out

Bad sex award nominee Christos Tsiolkas, who provides shocks in his new novel Dead Europe. Photograph: Colin McPherson/Corbis

The Literary Review prepares to name the author responsible for the worst sex scene of the year.

By Stephen Bates

The first thing that arises out of the nominations for this year’s bad sex awards – the excruciating writing highlighted by the Literary Review each year – is just how fecund their writers’ imaginations are. If they have done half the things they have ascribed to their characters, their spectacles must have steamed up.

There are agile tongues, rooms that begin to shake, warm wet caves, volcanic releases, moist meat, bottomless swamps of dead fish and yellow lilies in bloom and cellars filled with a heady store of wines and spirits emitting wafts of gaseous bouquets. And that is before you get to massaging, kneading, stretching, rubbing, pinching, flicking, feathering, licking, kissing and gently biting – which occurs in just one sentence thanks to David Guterson.

Now in their 19th year, the awards have shortlisted 12 authors before the presentation next month, among them some of the most distinguished – or at least bestselling – authors in the world. They come from Britain, the US, Hungary, Japan and Australia.

Among them is the monarch of horror, Stephen King, who may not have realised when he wrote in his new novel 11.22.63 “she leaned back and her head bonked on the door”, that bonking has a more ribald meaning in the UK.

Haruki Murakami, author of the 1Q84 trilogy, might also have thought better of calling one of his female characters Fukaeri.

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