Former prime minister’s memoir nominated for prize dedicated to clumsy erotic scenes in fiction
Tony Blair’s has received a double insult from the Literary Review, with the nomination of his bestselling autobiography, A Journey, for its bad sex award. The slight is not only to his skill at bedroom prose, but also to his claims to historical accuracy, since the award is dedicated to clumsy clinches in fiction.
The magazine’s deputy editor Tom Fleming today confirmed the genre-busting nomination for the prize, which celebrates “poorly written, redundant or crude passages of a sexual nature”. According to Fleming it is the first time a work of non-fiction has been up for the award. “It’s absolutely unprecedented,” he said. “He’s groundbreaking in every way.”
The former prime minister is nominated for a purple passage about the night spent with his wife Cherie following the news of the Labour leader John Smith’s sudden death. “That night she cradled me in her arms and soothed me; told me what I needed to be told; strengthened me. On that night of 12 May 1994, I needed that love Cherie gave me, selfishly. I devoured it to give me strength. I was an animal following my instinct,” Blair wrote.
Although the judging process is at an early stage, Fleming suggested that Blair would be a strong contender in a “good year” for the award, with Ian McEwan’s Solar and Martin Amis’s The Pregnant Widow already under consideration for the shortlist.
The shortlist for the Bad sex award is due to be announced next month, with the prize no author wants to win due to be awarded on 29 November.
Blair’s nomination is not the first time that his autobiography has been classified as fiction, as bookshops have reported customers with anti-war sympathies repeatedly reshelving the book into the crime section, following a Facebook-led campaign. Now it seems, A Journey may be moving into erotic fiction.