The winner of one of my favourite ‘literary’ awards has been announced: the 2008 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Started in 1982 by the English faculty at the San Jose State University in the States, the Bulwer-Lytton recognises the purplest of prose, with entrants asked to write the most deliberately awful opening sentence to an imaginary novel they can think up, inspired by Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s immortal ‘It was a dark and stormy night …’ This year’s winner is one Garrison Spik, a 41-year-old communications director and writer from Washington, D.C.
His winning sentence is: "Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped "Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J."
But I think I prefer the runner-up, from Andrew Bowers: "Hmm . . ." thought Abigail as she gazed languidly from the veranda past the bright white patio to the cerulean sea beyond, where dolphins played and seagulls sang, where splashing surf sounded like the tintinnabulation of a thousand tiny bells, where great gray whales bellowed and the sunlight sparkled off the myriad of sequins on the flyfish's bow ties, "time to get my meds checked."
If you want to read more of the cringe-worthy category winners and runners-up, go to http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/scott.rice/blfc2008.htm.