Bad Sex? I’ve Had it – Vicariously Of Course by Nicholas Royle

Daedalus Magazine

Nicholas Royle, University of Sussex

I can still vividly recall my acute embarrassment and anguish when, in 1997, people thought I’d won the Bad Sex in Fiction award. At first, I had no idea what was going on. Students and colleagues at my university came up to me in the corridor: “I didn’t know you were a pornographer…”; “Congratulations on the bad sex prize…”; “Is it true that you write pornography?” and so on.

They had confused me with my namesake – who had indeed just won the award – for a passage in his novel The Matter of the Heart in which a male character “reached for a condom” and the female “grinned and writhed on the bed, arching her back, making a noise somewhere between a beached seal and a police siren”.

My students and fellow academics thought I’d written that? It was excruciating – both…

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