November 20, 2009
Bad Sex is back
by Dennis Johnson
We pretty religiously ignore the award stories sweeping the book biz at this time of year. As Megan mentioned above, we even forgot the National Book Awards entirely until today. What’s the point? Independents rarely have a chance (and I’m sorry Norton, but you’re too big to constitute what most of us think of as an indie), we can’t afford the entry fees, and, well, writing and making books — it’s not a contest, you know?
Of course, none of that holds in the event that 1) we win the award and/or 2) you’re talking about the Bad Sex Awards, which we are. Yes, it’s that time of year again. As Alison Flood informs the world in this Guardian report, the shortlist has been announced, and the nominees include Philip Roth, John Banville, Amos Oz, Jonathan Littell, Paul Theroux, and 23-year-old Richard Milward, for his novel Ten Storey Love Song, which is comprised of “just one paragraph and replete with graphic sex scenes,” and “follows the story of Bobby the Artist as he becomes a star and then sinks into drug-induced psychosis.”
Milward tells Flood he “would have been upset” if he hadn’t made the cut. “There’s so much bad sex in my book that this is a nice accolade.”
Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives