The Amorist’s prize for book title of the year goes to Emily Hill’s audacious debut Bad Romance: a witty off-kilter collection of anti-love stories for the single woman – and the braced, brave male. Whisky, sex, malice, leopard-skin and mannequins form the backdrop for Hill’s latterday witches, who snatch noir triumphs from the jaws of rejection.
The Amorist is proud to have commissioned an early story by Hill and hasn’t been the least surprised by the rapturous response of readers and reviewers to this sly satire on modern mating rituals. A week ago fans gathered at Clerkenwell’s Betsey Trotwood pub to hear Hill and the Trinidad-born author Monique Roffey (below), whose slender lust-fuelled novel The Tryst is another treat, discuss sex on the page.
Hill confessed she believes the best literary sex scenes happen off page in the imagination, which is why the most erotic books ever published were by virgins – citing Jane Austen and the Brontes. Which led to a spirited post-talk debate about whether it would be better to live your life as a sexually unfulfilled genius, or an erotically replete dilettante. The Amorist very much hopes that in the 21st century you can tilt at being sexually-fulfilled lit luminaries.
I will cover you with love when next I see you, with caresses, with ecstasy. I want to gorge you with all the joys of the flesh, so that you faint and die.
Gustave Flaubert to Louise Colet, 1846