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Nancy Huston beats Tom Wolfe for Bad Sex in Fiction Award

Calgary-born novelist Nancy Huston has won the 20th annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award for her novel Infrared (McArthur & Company), about a photographer who takes photos of her lovers’ bodies using an infrared camera. The self-explanatory prize was presented by the U.K. magazine Literary Review at a gala ceremony in London.

In a statement, Huston says, “I hope this prize will incite thousands of British women to take close-up photos of their lovers’ bodies in all states of array and disarray.”

While it may seem like a dubious honour, Huston beat Tom Wolfe for the prize, joining past recipients Norman Mailer, David Guterson, and John Updike, who was recognized for his lifetime achievement, and previous nominees Stephen King, Haruki Murakami, and Jonathan Franzen. Huston is only the third woman to receive the award: Wendy Perriam won in 2002 and Rachel Johnson in 2008.

In his starred Q&Q review of Infrared, George Fetherling praised Huston’s handling of the erotic, describing the book as “far more candid, detailed, and au courant about sex than mainstream Canadian fiction usually dares to be.”

Huston, an officer of the Order of Canada, received the 1993 Governor General’s Literary Award for French-language fiction for Cantique des plaines (Leméac Éditeur) and was shortlisted for the 2008 Orange Prize for her novel Fault Lines (McArthur & Company).