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Manil Suri Wins One of the Most Dreaded Literary Prizes

manil suri's the city of deviOn Tuesday, December 3, Maryland writer and professor of mathematics Manil Suri won the Bad Sex Award for his novel “The City of Devi”. Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?

Bad Sex Award is an annual prize, given by Britain’s Literary Review to various writers in order to ”draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.” Those who write erotic and pornographic novels are not taken into consideration when defining the winner though. Perhaps, that is why E. L. James was never on the list of awarded writers.

Although it seems as if getting Bad Sex Award could annoy or even insult the winner, Manil Suri took it like a man… well, at least, he was pretty humorous about it when asked in some interviews afterwards, because he couldn’t make it to London on Tuesday and thus did not get the prize in person. By the way, many decent writers got this award – for example, Tom Wolfe, John Updike and Norman Mailer, and nobody made a drama out of it.

“The City of Devi” – the award-winning book – is the third novel, written by Suri. The main character is Sarita, a woman who is looking for her husband Karun in Mumbai during a nuclear crisis.

The passage of the book, which influenced the judges the most and which helped them to finally choose the winner, described the ending of a sex scene, which involved three people (including Sarita and Karun):

“Surely supernovas explode that instant, somewhere, in some galaxy. The hut vanishes, and with it the sea and the sands – only [his] body, locked with mine, remains. 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.”

It must be admitted though that there was a violent contest over Bad Sex Award. One of the most competitive opponents of Manil Suri was Woody Guthrie himself, with his novel “House of Earth” and the following passage:

“And as she sucked the last drops of his blood and his seed into the folds of her innermost soul and self, she felt her whole body lift, pull, squeeze, then lift again, tremble, shake, and quiver, and in her fires of her stomach she strained and moved to bathe his blood into the rumble and the thunder of her own.”

From the passage, shown above, one can see clearly, that the contest was not a piece of cake. More pity that Manil Suri did not come to London – he should have done it at least in order to meet Joan Collins, who presented the prize that evening.

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