Critically-acclaimed Italian author Erri De Luca has been crowned the winner of the Bad Sex In Fiction Award 2016 for an excerpt in his novel The Day Before Happiness.
De Luca fended off stiff competition from the likes of former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis’s The Butcher’s Hook, American creative writing teacher Ethan Canin’s A Doubter’s Almanac and filmmaker Tom Connolly’s Men Like Air to become the 24th winner of the Literary Review prize.
This new accolade follows his win in 2013 of the European Prize for Literature and his being dubbed “the writer of the decade” by prestigious Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Judges were won over by a scene in De Luca’s novel that saw the Neapolitan protagonist and a mysterious woman he had watched from afar become intimate.
The excerpt included the description of the male character’s genitalia as being like “a plank stuck to her stomach”.
Another piece of the narrative detailed how the couple’s “sexes were ready, poised in expectation, barely touching each other: ballet dancers hovering en pointe”.
De Luca was not in attendance to retrieve his award at the ceremony, held at the In & Out (Naval and Military) Club in London’s St James’s Square.
A representative from the book’s publisher Allen Lane was on-hand to pick up the prize in his absence.
The aim of the prize, awarded since 1993, is to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction.
Singer-songwriter Morrissey won the award last year for his fictional debut List Of The Lost.