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Friday, 27 November, 1998, 11:45 GMT
Faulks beats Starr in bad sex award
Auberon Waugh
Auberon Waugh: Wiping out bad sex writing
Best-selling author Sebastian Faulks has won the one literary award no writer really wants - The Bad Sex prize.

Readers deluged judges with entries for the award which is presented by The Literary Review for the year's most deplorable description of sex.

Faulks fought off tough competition from Kenneth Starr's report into the Monica Lewinsky scandal and former British foreign secretary Douglas Hurd's latest thriller.

"We have almost defeated those novelists who put in those lumps of bad sex. Most sex is bad sex. It's the great discovery of our time," said Literary Review editor Auberon Waugh as he announced the prize.

Sebastian Faulks
Sebastian Faulks: Not up for attending award
The winner did not attend to claim his dubious honour - the first time a winning author has not turned up.

Faulks, who topped the best seller list and won critical acclaim for his World War I saga Birdsong, won the award for his latest novel Charlotte Gray.

Some of his prize winning prose included the passage: "Meanwhile her ears were filled with the sound of a soft but frantic gasping and it was some time before she identified it as her own."

The character then says: "This is so wonderful I feel I might disintegrate, I might break into a million fragments."

BBC TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh was on hand to accept a runner-up prize for his carefully cultivated prose. He told guests at London's Naval and Military Club: "In the face of stiff opposition I'm glad I came.

"I am delighted to be in the company of Julian Barnes and Sebastian Faulks with my first novel, Mr MacGregor."

He said in his part of Yorkshire sex "is what posh people get their coal in".

Waugh said the Bad Sex Awards were becoming "the most important literary event in the country".

Also shortlisted were contributions from actor Richard E Grant, US prosecutor Kenneth Starr for the Starr Report and former Home Secretary, Lord Hurd, who this year chaired the judging panel of the Booker Prize.

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