‘Animal’ Tony Blair up for Bad Sex Award
The former PM’s account of a night of passion with Cherie could win A Journey its first literary prize
Tony Blair's memoir A Journey is in the running for a prestigious literary award less than two months after it was published - and the author has broken new ground by winning the nomination.
However, Blair is unlikely to be flashing his Cheshire cat grin at the news, because the prize in question is the least sought-after gong in publishing - the Literary Review's Bad Sex Award.
The passage that caught the judges' eye is a toe-curling account of a night of passion spent with his wife Cherie, in which the former Prime Minister freely admits that he "selfishly" released his inner "animal".
Blair's nomination breaks new ground for the award as it was previously reserved for examples of "crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel".
It is not known whether the judges regard Blair's account of his bedroom exploits as fictitious or were so moved they felt obliged to nominate the man who is now a UN Middle East peace envoy anyway.
Although the official shortlist for the award has yet to be announced Tom Fleming, deputy editor of the Literary Review, indicated that Blair was in the hunt and revealed that excitement over the nomination was at fever pitch. "It's absolutely unprecedented," he said. "He's groundbreaking in every way."
He said Blair would be a strong contender for the prize in what was a "good year". Ian McEwan's Solar and Martin Amis's The Pregnant Widow are also rumoured to be in the running. The official shortlist is announced next month and the winner will be revealed on November 29.
And for anyone with a strong enough constitution, here is the offending passage of Blair's memoir, which relates to events on the evening after the death of Labour leader John Smith.
"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." ·