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Today in books and publishing, the "Bad Sex in Fiction" award results are in, two poets have withdrawn from the T.S. Eliot prize shortlist, and California gets a Harry Potter theme park.
  • Somewhat unshockingly, a mother-son sex scene in David Guterson's Oedipus Rex reboot Ed Rex has won the Literary Review's award for "Bad Sex in Fiction." The Literary Review's annual media grab award began in 1993 to discourage "crude, tasteless, and often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in contemporary novels." The Telegraph reports, "Judges were said to be impressed by his over-reliance on terms such as 'family jewels', 'back door' and 'front parlour' during a sex scene between mother and son." Oof. Guterson seems to have taken the back-handed award in good humor, noting "Oedipus practically invented bad sex, so I'm not in the least bit surprised." We guess winning any kind of award this year where the other nominees include Stephen King and Haruki Murakami should be accepted happily. [The Guardian, The Telegraph, Galleycat]
  • Two poets now have taken themselves out of the running for the prestigious T.S. Eliot prize for poetry, citing political differences with the prize's hedge fund sponsor. The £15,000 (!) prize is losing its original funding source and will be sponsored this year by private investment management firm Aurum Funds. Yesterday, the poet Alice Oswald removed herself from the shortlist saying, "I think poetry should be questioning not endorsing such institutions and for that reason I'm withdrawing from the Eliot shortlist." Today she's joined by Australian poet John Kinsella, who said he understood why the Poetry Book Society sought new funding, "but as an anticapitalist in full-on form, that is my position." There's something at least ideologically consistent about turning town a whole lot of money in a stand of this kind. But with eight poets left on the short-list, at this rate, the competition might come down to "least anti-capitalist poet standing." [The Guardian]
  • Rejoice ye West Coast muggles, for Universal Studios Hollywood will be opening a Harry Potter-themed park along the lines of the recently debuted Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. Universal's park seems to be getting by just now with attractions based on Jurassic Park and King Kong, notes The New York Times. ("Mommy, what the heck is Jurassic Park?' -- Every child born after 1994.) But they are so excited about this announcement, they somehow convinced California's Minister of Magic Governor Jerry Brown to show up to the press conference announcement yesterday. [Media Decoder]
  • Goodreads announced the winners of its Goodreads Choice Awards yesterday, "the only major book awards chosen by readers." Divergent, a young adult novel, took home the prize for overall best read, which Goodreads takes as evidence of the cross-over power of the young adult genre. (Most voters were over 25 Goodreads reports, probably just fresh out of the Twilight theater ...) Readers for other categories are fairly typical of this year's CW, with IQ84 picked for "Best Fiction," The Greeks Shall Inherit the Earth for non-fiction, and Bossypants by Tina Fey for humor. Actually, founded as it is on popular opinion, the list could make for a fairly decent holiday gift guide, should you need one. [San Francisco Chronicle]

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