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Erri De Luca wins Bad Sex in Fiction Award

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Erri De Luca’s previous honours include the 2013 European Prize for Literature

Italian author Erri De Luca has won this year’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award for his novel The Day Before Happiness.

De Luca held off stiff competition from former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis to take the 24th annual prize.

His novel includes lines such as: “I was her plaything, which she moved around.

“Our sexes were ready, poised in expectation, barely touching each other: ballet dancers hovering en pointe.”

The judges said they were swayed by this scene in particular, which involves the Neapolitan orphan protagonist and a mysterious woman he has watched from afar.

‘A few short snarls’

However these passages cannot be quoted in full in this story due to their somewhat graphic content.

Another line in The Day Before Happiness reads: “She held me in her arms; they cracked. A few short snarls escaped her before a bite that called the pain from my nose to make it course through my neck.”

Organisers said the prize’s purpose was “to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction”.

De Luca was announced as the winner at a ceremony at the In Out Club in London on Wednesday.

He has previously been hailed as “the writer of the decade” by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera and won the European Prize for Literature in 2013.


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