Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

okri-bad-sex-award

I’m just so delighted that an African author has finally won the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award. It’s been a long time coming. After all, Africa is the continent of awful descriptions of sex scenes in novels.

The UK-based Nigerian author, Ben Okri, wins the award for the description of a sex scene in his most recent novel titled The Age of Magic (2014).

Surely, there are a few exceptions like Tayeb Salih’s Seasons of Migration to the North {HERE} or Mongo Beti’s Poor Christ of Bomba {HERE}. But in general, reading a sex scene in an African novel can be as bad as watching Nollywood actors make out on screen.

After nearly one century of serenading the world with bad sex scenes, Ben Okri’s win means that Africa has finally gotten its long overdue recognition.

Bad Sex in Fiction Award is pretty self-explanatory. It’s given to a novel judged to have the worst sex scene.

Before you think it’s a silly idea, have you ever read a novel and cringed at how tasteless and forced the sex scene was? What’s the point of having a sex scene if it’s not genuinely titillating?

How did Ben Okri take the news? For someone who has won the Booker Prize and other prestigious awards, winning such an award left him a bit salty.

Asked what he thought about snagging the Bad Sex in Fiction Award, he gave this curt reply: “A writer writes what they write and that’s all there is to it.” 

But taking it all in good fun, Okri’s editor, Maggie McKernan, says: “Winning the award is fun but a bit undignified, just like sex, assuming you do it properly.”

You’re probably curious about the offending passage in Okri’s new novel. Well here it is:

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. She became aware of places in her that could only have been concealed there by a god with a sense of humour.

Adrift on warm currents, no longer of this world, she became aware of him gliding into her. He loved her with gentleness and strength, stroking her neck, praising her face with his hands, till she was broken up and began a low rhythmic wail … The universe was in her and with each movement it unfolded to her. Somewhere in the night a stray rocket went off.”

Seriously? A rocket going off somewhere in the night?

Anyway, Okri shouldn’t feel too bad. The award actually places him in very fine company—with the likes of Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe who won the award in 2007 and 2004, respectively, not to mention J. K. Rowling and Haruki Murakami who have been shortlisted.

I doubt the award comes with a cash prize. So even though Okri won’t be getting a check in the mail, I still want to say congrats!

 

*************************

{Thanks to MO for this}

Image by Ben Disinger via Flickr.

Tags: , , ,

Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

3 Responses to “Ben Okri’s Rocket-Sex Scene Wins Him Bad Sex Award!” Subscribe

  1. Kiru Taye December 4, 2014 at 1:26 am #

    I had to laugh out loud at the editor’s comments that ‘sex is undignified.’ She’s obviously not doing it right. 😉

  2. Bryan Hinkle Mugere December 4, 2014 at 4:05 am #

    If I am not wrong, the Editor Maggie McKernan is somewhat ridiculous! “Winning the award is fun but a bit undignified, just like sex, assuming you do it properly.” Seriously????? Assuming it’s done right??? I think the rightness or wrongness of sex is relative. It might be slow, quick, wild, gentle, rapid or whatever. Okri presents it in the way typical of his male character. So, what then? You wanted him presenting it your way? Then that would have been your book, and your sex. This is his book and his character’s sex!

  3. Obinna Udenwe December 4, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    Hahahahaha. So so bitter sweet!

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Suyi Davies Okungbowa’s Fantasy Trilogy, The Nameless Republic, Acquired by Orbit 

Suyi davies okungbowa by adaeze opara duncan

Orbit has acquired the rights to the Nigerian writer Suyi Davies Okungbowa’s new epic fantasy trilogy. Titled The Nameless Republic, […]

Ilya Kaminsky & Ellen Bass Have Serious Praise for Romeo Oriogun’s Hotly Anticipated Debut Collection, Sacrament of Bodies

romeo oriogun - sacrament of bodies - graph

We are two months away from the arrival of Romeo Oriogun‘s debut poetry collection Sacrament of Bodies, from the University […]

Nancy Adimora, Founder & Editor of Afreada, Rejoins HarperCollins in Diversity-Focused Role

nancy adimora - website - graph

Nancy Adimora, founder and editor of the literary magazine AFREADA, is returning to US publishing house HarperCollins in a newly […]

Come Home with Me | Obasa Funmilayo | Poetry

nick-karvounis-8WODX7nO2JE-unsplash

i This is a tribute to the dreams we failed to keep between our breasts, for the fantasies we painted […]

Watch Liberian Journalist Clarice Gargard Talk Her Family History, the Civil Wars, & Charles Taylor

clarice gargard - tedxamsterdamwomen-2019

The Liberian Dutch-American journalist and social advocate Clarice Gargard recently shared her story of Liberia’s civil wars in a TEDx […]

Submit to Issue III of 20.35 Africa Poetry Series, Guest-Edited by Itiola Jones & Cheswayo Mphanza

20.35 africa - itiola jones and cheswayo mpanza guest-editing

Launched in 2018, the 20.25 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry collective is pushing institutional boundaries in the African literary scene […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.