Former Smiths frontman Morrissey won Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award at a ceremony in London for his debut novel, List of the Lost, the follow-up to his 2013 Autobiography. The outspoken singer did not attend the ceremony Tuesday night — citing a busy touring schedule — so music critic Charles Shaar Murray accepted the prize on Morrissey’s behalf.
“Ladies and gentleman in an ideal world, this award would be received by Morrissey. Or by somebody who publishes Morrissey. Or by somebody who likes Morrissey. Unfortunately no such person could be found,” Murray said during the acceptance speech.
List of the Lost follows four student-athletes on a cursed relay team. Critics panned it after its release in the fall, with Guardian’s Michael Hann urging potential readers not to buy the book, calling it “an unpolished turd of a book, the stale excrement of Morrissey’s imagination.”
Morrissey has previously spoken about the book’s demonology theme, and “path of black magic.” Read his description below, via True to You:
“The theme is demonology… the left-handed path of black magic. It is about a sports relay team in 1970s America who accidentally kill a wretch who, in esoteric language, might be known as a Fetch… a discarnate entity in physical form. He appears, though, as an omen of the immediate deaths of each member of the relay team. He is a life force of a devil incarnate, yet in his astral shell he is one phase removed from life. The wretch begins a banishing ritual of the four main characters, and therefore his own death at the beginning of the book is illusory.”
List of the Lost was hailed as an early favorite for the award because “the judges were swayed by an ecstatic scene involving Ezra, one of the athletes, and his plucky girlfriend, Eliza.”
The book won for the following passage:
“At this, Eliza and Ezra rolled together into the one giggling snowball of full-figured copulation, screaming and shouting as they playfully bit and pulled at each other in a dangerous and clamorous rollercoaster coil of sexually violent rotation with Eliza’s breasts barrel-rolled across Ezra’s howling mouth and the pained frenzy of his bulbous salutation extenuating his excitement as it whacked and smacked its way into every muscle of Eliza’s body except for the otherwise central zone.”
London-based Literary Review established the prize in 1993 and describes its purpose as “to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction, and to discourage them.” As NY Times notes, erotic fiction does not qualify for the prize. Past winners include Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, Ben Okri, and Sebastian Faulks.
— Prospect Magazine (@prospect_uk) December 2, 2015
While he has an incredibly loyal fanbase, an extensive library of hit songs, and large platform from which to speak his mind, Morrissey confessed in an interview with the Paraguayan publication Ultima Hora that he has considered quitting music.
“The music business is difficult. I have been cheated many, many times, and so it becomes difficult to live with that, because people who cheat you are protected by well-placed friends in high places. But I love singing, I can say that honestly. I dream of creating and working in an animal sanctuary, but around the world there are offers for me to continue singing and I’m happy to do so as long as people want me.”
Morrissey was dropped from his record label, Capitol/Harvest, last year after he posted a lengthy rant on True-to-You in which he criticized them for failing to fund a music video to support his album, World Peace Is None of Your Business.