Author Manil Suri wins Britain's bad sex award for "quarks" and "superheroes" scene

LONDON Wed Dec 4, 2013 1:32am IST

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LONDON (Reuters) - Manil Suri has won the annual Bad Sex in Fiction award for a scene in his novel "The City of Devi" describing a sexual encounter in terms of exploding supernovas and streaking superheroes, Britain's Literary Review said on Tuesday.

The prize, which has been bestowed by the magazine every year since 1993, aims to draw attention to "crude, badly written, or perfunctory use of passages of sexual description in contemporary novels, and to discourage it".

Suri, a dual American and Indian citizen, joins an illustrious list of past winners including John Updike, Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe and Sebastian Faulks.

The Literary Review said the judges were won over by the climax of an extended sex scene in The City of Devi involving all three main characters.

"Surely supernovas explode that instant, somewhere, in some galaxy. The hut vanishes, and with it the sea and the sands - only Karun's body, locked with mine, remains," wrote Suri, who as well as a novelist is a professor of mathematics.

"We streak like superheroes past suns and solar systems, we dive through shoals of quarks and atomic nuclei. In celebration of our breakthrough fourth star, statisticians the world over rejoice."

The City of Devi is Suri's third novel. He has previously won the Barnes and Noble Discover Prize, been shortlisted for the PEN/Faulkner Award and longlisted for the Booker Prize.

Based in the United States, Suri was unable to collect his award at a ceremony in London but a representative of Bloomsbury, his British publisher, accepted it on his behalf.

"In accepting this award we challenge everyone to make up their own mind ... As Jane Austen observed: 'One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.' Which half are you in?" Bloomsbury said in a statement.

(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon)

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