Posted in Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, Literature Prizes

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest


This is one of my favourite literary awards.

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is an international literary parody contest in memory of novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel Paul Clifford (1830) with the immortal words:

“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents–except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”

Contest entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. The winner in 2008 is Garrison Spik, a communications director and writer from Washington, D.C. Here is Garrison’s entry:

“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.”

There are many categories in the contest. Read the entries here . This one, which got a Dishonourable Mention in the Romance category, particularly tickled my fancy:

“He was a dark and stormy knight, and this excited Gwendolyn, but admittedly not as much as last night when he was Antonio Banderas in drag, or the night before that when he was a French Legionnaire who blindfolded her and fed her pommes frites from his kepi”. – Leslie Muir, Atlanta, GA.

Fantastic stuff!

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