Sexy literature prize not awarded – again
29 January 2004
MADRID – A respected prize for erotic writing has not been awarded again because the standard of submissions was not spicy enough, it was reported Thursday.
Judges of the ‘Vertical Smile’ competition have concluded that authors who specialise in this lauded art form have lost some of their prowess.
The Guardian newspaper reports that for the second time in three years, judges have refused to select a winner for the EUR 20,000 prize, saying the 152 entries were neither erotic enough nor well-written.
The publisher behind the prize, Tusquets, has now threatened to pull the plug on an award that had become a literary institution in Spain and launched the careers of several well-known writers, including Almudena Grandes and Eduardo Mendicutti.
It may be the final blow to a prize which started 26 years ago during the sudden Spanish furore for all things naked or sexual, the so-called destape (“uncovering”) that followed the death of the dictator General Franco in 1975.
“We are going to think about the continuity of this award. We will say in April whether it will be held again and, if it does continue, what the new rules will be,” Tusquets said.
Grandes’ 1989 book, The Ages of Lulu, a tale of female sexual obsession and experimentation, has been the most successful of all prize winners, translated into 20 different languages and made into a film by director Bigas Luna.
The prize has always enjoyed a degree of literary respect in Spain and judges have included the Nobel prizewinner Camilo José Cela.
It was created in the belief that hundreds of secretly-written erotic novels were hidden in the homes of writers who feared to publish them while Franco, and his church censors, ran Spain for 40 years.
But those novels either never existed or failed to appear and, instead, the jury were, for the first few years, inundated with books in which phalluses fought with angels, wore masks and, in one case, dressed up as a bullfighter.
Among the less conventional scenes to have made it into the winning works are a homosexual relationship between Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, and an English lord doing strange things with figs.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news