She smells of almonds, like a plump Bakewell pudding; and he is the spoon, the whipped cream, the helpless dollop of warm custard (The Yips by Nicola Barker)
The two authors heavily tipped to take this year’s most coveted and dreaded literary prize have failed to make the shortlist. Neither J.K. Rowling, for her first adult novel, nor EL James for her Fifty Shades trilogy, will be adding the bad sex trophy to their mantelpieces.
Jonathan Beckman, senior editor at the Literary Review, which organises the annual award, said nominations had poured in for Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. However, after ardent discussions about the book, the judges concluded she failed to meet the criteria. Despite “a couple of queasy moments”, as Beckman termed it, her writing is not nearly bad enough.
The other notable absentee is James’ Fifty Shades trilogy, the books which brought mummy-porn out of the e-readers and on to the best-seller shelves in every high street bookshop.
The full shortlist is: Tom Wolf nominated for the second time for Back to Blood, The Yips by Nicholas Baker, The Adventuress by Nicholas Coleridge, Infrared by Nancy Huston, Rare Earth by Paul Mason, Noughties by Ben Masters, The Quiddity of Will Self by Sam Mills – a particularly worthy nomination, since Self’s own fiction has been shortlisted on three occasions– and The Divine Comedy by Craig Raine. Coleridge and Raine are also repeat offenders.
The winner will be announced at a lavish ceremony in London next month – and it is considered a badge of courage for the authors to attend to receive it in person.