American author James Frey is best-known for his memoir A Million Little Pieces, which was published in 2003 to great acclaim only to be shrouded in controversy when it was later revealed that parts of it were falsified. Now, Frey has another dubious honour to add to his fame – he has been declared the winner of the 2018 Bad Sex in Fiction Award for his novel, Katerina.
The award, given out every year since 1993 by The Literary Review, is for “the most egregious passage of sexual description in a work of fiction” and includes Ben Okri and Tom Wolfe among its more famous winners.
This year’s winner was selected from an all-male shortlist, comprising, among others, Haruki Murakami for his novel Killing Commendatore, Gerard Woodward for The Paper Lovers and Irish novelist Julian Gough for his novel Connect.
While the judges had plenty to choose from with writers such as Murakami (“I slipped my erect penis inside. Or, from another angle, that part of her actively swallowed my penis, immersing it in what felt like warm butter”), they said the multiple sex scenes in Frey’s novel, Katerina, about a love affair in Paris between an American writer and a Norwegian model, swayed their decision.
“James Frey prevailed against a strong all-male shortlist by virtue of the sheer number and length of dubious erotic passages in his book.,” the judges said in a statement, highlighting one that they were left particularly “unconvinced” by:
“I’m hard and deep inside her fucking her on the bathroom sink her tight little black dress still on her thong on the floor my pants at my knees our eyes locked, our hearts and souls and bodies locked.Cum inside me.
Cum inside me.
Cum inside me.
Blinding breathless shaking overwhelming exploding white God I cum inside her my cock throbbing we’re both moaning eyes hearts souls bodies one.
I close my eyes let out my breath.
Frey responded to his win by saying he was “deeply honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious award”. “Kudos to all my distinguished fellow finalists, you have all provided me with many hours of enjoyable reading over the last year,” he added.
The American writer first shot to fame with his “memoir” about dealing with alcohol and drug addiction, which was later relabelled as a “semi-fictional novel” after it was discovered that he had made up several of the experiences detailed in the book.