London - Jonathan Littell won the Bad Sex in Fiction Award, the United Kingdom's "most dreaded literary prize," for his depiction of the sadomasochistic encounters between twin siblings in "The Kindly Ones."

The judges cited Littell for one incestuous scene that unfolds on the bed of a guillotine and another that invokes the myth of Cyclops, "whose single eye never blinks." These marred what the judges called an impressive work.

"It is in part a work of genius," the judges said in an e-mailed statement Monday about the World War II novel, which won the Prix Goncourt, France's top book prize, in 2006.

Previously won by Tom Wolfe, Sebastian Faulks and Norman Mailer, the Bad Sex in Fiction contest seeks to dishonor the author of the year's "most embarrassing passages of sexual description in a literary novel."

London's monthly Literary Review inaugurated the prize in 1993 "to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it."