Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has been barred from the 2017 Bad Sex in Fiction Award – because he is an MP.
That is despite the Literary Review, which organises the annual prize, saying his thriller Open Arms received “many” nominations.
That means he will not compete against the likes of Wilbur Smith’s War Cry, one of six nominees announced so far.
In it a male character says he wants to explore his lover “like Dr Livingstone and Mr Stanley exploring Africa”.
‘Congress of wonder’
The same passage from Smith’s novel, co-written with David Churchill, refers to nipples “standing up as proudly as little guardsmen on parade”.
Another shortlisted work – The Future Won’t Be Long by Turkish-American author Jarett Kobek – likens sexual intercourse to a “pulsing wave”, a “holy burst” and a “congress of wonder”.
A third nominee – The Seventh Function of Language by France’s Laurent Binet – features a man wooing a woman with the words: “Let’s construct an assemblage.”
Their love-making continues “until they reach the point of impact, when the two desiring machines collide in an atomic explosion”.
In her debut novel Mother of Darkness, Venetia Welby writes about a character called Tera who “moans in colours” as her lover approaches.
“It was as if a Catherine Wheel had been ignited in my solar plexus,” muses a character in another passage from the book singled out for consideration.
Organisers say the purpose of the prize is “to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction”.
The award, whose recent winners include Morrissey’s debut novel List of the Lost, does not cover pornographic or expressly erotic literature.
The winner of the prize, which last year went to Italian author Erri De Luca, will be announced in central London on 30 November. The venue? The Naval and Military Club – also known as the In & Out.