The 2015 Bad Sex in Fiction Award Shortlist

Most of us view novelist/screenwriter George Pelecanos and former Smiths frontman-turned-solo artist/vegan crusader Morrissey as talented, and in many ways this is true. According to the Literary Review, however, all that talent doesn’t mean they know how to write about sex. The publication announced its shortlist for the 23rd annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award this week, with Pelecanos and Morrissey representing two of the eight selections for 2015.

Some people assume bad sex writing appears solely in romance novels and erotica, but all of this year’s selections are within the general-fiction category. “The books in question demonstrate the rude health of modern fiction,” said the judges of the award, and after viewing some quotes from the titles it’s easy to see why. One of the tamer ones from Fates and Furies was shared on The Guardian:

“He shut his eyes and thought of mangoes, split papayas, fruits tart and sweet and dripping with juice, and then it was off, and he groaned and his whole body turned sweet.”

Call Me Dave, by Michael Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott, was briefly considered for the shortlist, but after careful consideration, the judges decided that the biography “displayed insufficient literary brio to merit serious consideration.” Winners will be announced December 1st. The shortlist follows, linked to Booklist reviews when available.

Before, During, After, by Richard BauschAgainst Nature by Tomas Espedal

Book of Numbers, by Joshua Cohen

Against Nature, by Tomas Espedal

Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff

The Making of Zombie Wars, by Aleksandar Hemon

Fear of Dying, by Erica Jong

List of the Lost, by Morrissey

The Martini Shot, by George Pelecanos



About the Author:

Amy Dittmeier served as a Booklist's interns in fall 2015. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Library Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and enjoying all the cheese curds Wisconsin has to offer. When she's not doing homework, Amy enjoys adding more to her to-read pile and binge-watching bad sci-fi and fantasy shows. Visit her at

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