Canadian Nancy Huston wins Bad Sex in Fiction prize

Calgary-born novelist Nancy Huston has won Britain's Bad Sex in Fiction Award, a prize no writer wants to win, for her novel Infrared.

Dubious honour goes to Infrared, about a photographer who takes pictures of her lovers

Calgary-born novelist Nancy Huston has won Britain's Bad Sex in Fiction Award, a prize no writer wants to win, for her novel Infrared.

The annual prize from the U.K.'s Literary Review magazine draws "attention to the crude, badly written, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel."

Nancy Huston has won the Bad Sex in Fiction Award for a passage from Infrared, her latest novel. (Laurent Rebours/Canadian Press)

Huston, who is based in Paris and writes in French before translating her own books into English, was awarded the prize Tuesday in absentia in a ceremony in London featuring actress Samantha Bond.

Infrared is the tale of a photographer on holiday with elderly parents in Florence who takes pictures of her many lovers during intimate moments.  

"The Canon is part of my body," Huston’s heroine confides.

The judges were particularly taken with this description of love-making: "Kamal and I are totally immersed in flesh, that archaic kingdom that brings forth tears and terrors, nightmares, babies and bedazzlements. The word pleasure is far too weak for what transpires there. So is the word bliss." 

The heroine compares the moment to "undulating space where the undulating skies make your non-body undulate."

Huston, 59, a former winner of the Prix Femina and a nominee for the Orange Prize for Fault Lineswon in a field that included Tom Wolfe, Nicola Barker and Paul Mason.

She was sanguine about her win, saying in a statement that she hoped her victory would "incite thousands of British women to take close-up photos of their lovers' bodies in all states of array and disarray."

Huston was the third female winner in the 22-year history of the award.

Previous recipients of the dubious honour include Wolfe, the late Norman Mailer and the late John Updike, who was awarded a Bad Sex lifetime achievement award in 2008.