With all the hype going to veterans like Thomas Pynchon, Mark Haddon & David Mitchell, the Bad Sex Prize ended up in the hands of a newbie. Iain Hollingshead took the dubious honor for TWENTY SOMETHING. The Associated Press reports that judges were moved by Hollingshead’s evocation of “a commotion of grunts and squeaks, flashing unconnected images and explosions of a million little particles.” His description of “bulging trousers” sealed the win, the judges said.
“Because Hollingshead is a first-time writer, we wished to discourage him from further attempts,” the judges—editors of Literary Review magazine—said in a statement. “Heavyweights like Thomas Pynchon and Will Self are beyond help at this point.” Hollingshead, 25, who received his award from rocker Courtney Love at a London ceremony, said he was delighted to become the prize’s youngest winner. “I hope to win it every year,” said Hollingshead, who receives a statuette and a bottle of champagne.
When reached for comment, Peter Mayer of Overlook Press, which has just published Hollingshead in the U.S., emailed back, “‘Bulging trousers’ indeed! We’re bulging with pride at the stand-out quality of our author’s libidinal literary efforts. Every part of our international publishing family is standing up and saluting young Iain.” Surely he meant “every member,” no?