Ed King – a modern take on the Greek legend of Oedipus – won Guterson the bad sex prize, which was announced by Carry On star Barbara Windsor at the In & Out Club in St James’s.
Judges said that Guterson’s offering of awkward erotica was a “clear winner”.
Guterson, who couldn’t attend the event, said: “Oedipus practically invented bad sex, so I’m not in the least bit surprised.”
Hot on the heels of Guterson’s prize was Haruki Murakami, with his new novel 1Q84, in which he says: “A freshly made ear and a freshly made vagina look very much alike, Tengo thought.”
Another runner up, Chris Adrian, wrote in The Great Night about an “impossibly eloquent cock”, which “poked her now from the front and now from the back and now from the side”.
The Affair, penned by Lee Child, was also strong competition: “Then it was time. We started tenderly. Long and slow, long and slow. Deep and easy. She flushed and gasped. So did I. Long and slow.”
The Literary Review’s assistant editor, Jonathan Beckman said judges were won over by a scene introduced as “the part where a mother has sex with her son”.
He said: “these sorts of gyrations and five-sense choreographies, with variations on Ed’s main themes, played out episodically between 10 pm and 10 am, when Diane said, ‘Let’s shower’; and ‘she took him by the wrist and moved the base of his hand into her pubic hair until his middle fingertip settled on the no-man’s-land between her ‘front parlour’ and ‘back door’ (those were the quaint, prudish terms of her girlhood)’”.
“He says in brackets that these are quaint, prudish terms but I don’t think that is sufficient justification for using them,” adds Beckman
“He’s trying to find a way of writing about sex but it comes across as awkward and self-conscious … It doesn’t quite come off.”
The award was set up by Auberon Waugh in 1993 to point out and shame the “crude, tasteless, and often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in contemporary novels”.