Entertainment & Arts

Bad Sex in Fiction: Ben Okri scoops 2014 prize

Ben Okri Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ben Okri's novel follows a team of film-makers who find themselves at an Alpine hotel

Nigerian author Ben Okri's The Age of Magic has scooped the Bad Sex in Fiction award.

His novel includes: "He lavished on her body indirect touches and bitter-sweet sensations flooded her brain."

The 55-year-old beat fellow authors including the Man Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan.

The award, in its 22nd year, highlights "crude, badly written or perfunctory use of sexual description" in modern books.

Previous winners of prize, established by The Literary Review in 1993, include Melvyn Bragg, Norman Mailer and AA Gill.

Last year the prize was won by Manil Suri for The City of Devi.

Okri's Age of Magic follows a team of eight documentary makers travelling from Paris to Basel, who end up in a Swiss hotel by a lake in the shadow of a looming mountain.

Judges were impressed by an erotic scene involving Lao, the documentary's presenter, and his girlfriend, Mistletoe.

"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," it reads.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Australian novelist Richard Flanagan was also shortlisted for the prize

The author, who was unable to collect his award, said in a statement: "A writer writes what they write and that's all there is to it."

Okri's publisher, Head of Zeus, who were at the London ceremony to accept the award on his behalf, said that winning was "fun but a bit undignified, just like sex, assuming you do it properly".

Okri, who won the Booker Prize in 1991 for The Famished Road, overcame a strong shortlist.

It included Richard Flanagan for the Deep North, which includes the line: "He kissed the slight, rose-coloured trench that remained from her knicker elastic, running around her belly like the equator line circling the world."

Eric Reinhardt's The Victoria System also made the shortlist with the highly-charged phrase: "It was as if I were drinking in life itself."

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