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Bad sex awards

Tom Wolfe's 'Back to Blood' have been nominated for the Bad Sex awards.

Eight nominees - including Tom Wolfe's Back to Blood - have been announced for the Bad Sex awards, a competition created by the Literary Review "to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel". The competition is reserved for books in the general category, not those categorised as erotic, so Fifty Shades of Grey was not in the running. The prize has been awarded annually since 1993. J K Rowling had been buzzed about as one of the award's long-listed nominees, but was ultimately beat out by past winner Tom Wolfe, among others. Judges say The Casual Vacancy, Rowling's new adult novel, was a contender, but "the book's sins were venal (sic) compared with the competition".

Not everyone agrees, and this purple passage has been cited as proof that Rowling deserves to be on that list: "He retained a memory of her bare pink vulva;it was as though Father Christmas had popped up in their midst. . . he forced his way inside her, determined to accomplish what he had come for. . . Krystal moaned a little. Her head thrown back, her nose became broad and snout-like. " Someone wave a wand and make this go away.

An autumn affair

After Fifty Shades of Grey, another book, and this time by a granny whose tale of OAPs (or Oldies' Adulterous Passions) has become a bestseller.

Thursdays in the Park, by Hilary Boyd, a 63-year-old London grandmother, is a romantic tale which tracks the love affair between a couple in their 60s. The Daily Mail says that after a creakingly slow start in paperback, its launch as an online ebook at the end of the summer has provided an astonishing transformation in its fortunes.

By the start of this month, sales - fuelled by word of mouth alone - had comfortably passed the 100, 000 mark, and it occupied the No 1 spot in the Amazon book charts. Quite a feat for a book that is less a May-to-December romance than an Octoberto-October one.

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