If there's one thing that makes a wannabee writer feel better about one's fledgling authoring efforts, it's knowing that even the proud and published can have a bad day.
Having collected two major literary awards in France for his novel The Kindly Ones, American/French writer Jonathan Littell has just bagged a third: The Literary Review's Bad Sex in Fiction Award 2009.
Not surprisingly, the British journal's annual award is one of the most highly anticipated yet least desirable gongs going around.
Originally written in French and having reportedly sold over a million copies, at last count The Kindly Ones had been translated into 17 languages. But Littell can't blame the translators for this doozy.
The judging panel declared:
"It is in part a work of genius. However, a mythologically inspired passage and lines such as 'I came suddenly, a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg' clinched the award for The Kindly Ones. We hope he takes it in good humour."
Others shortlisted for the win include our own Nick Cave for The Death of Bunny Monroe (which, at the very, very least, is a somewhat backhanded plug for pilates) and travel fiction writer Paul Theroux for A Dead Hand, which is exactly what he deserves for this Muppets-do-the-Karma-Sutra vomit.
We the ever-hopefuls secretly love this kind of reassurance. It sets the bar at a far more graspable height (low?) to know that writing so cringe-worthy can still prove to be a publishing 'success'.
But even so, for all the times I've read something and thought to myself 'I wish I'd written that', this is one time I'm thrilled that I didn't.