The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest originated at San Jose University in 1982 and was inspired by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton’s famous opening lines to Paul Clifford (1830) “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,” the contest celebrates awful, purple prose and is my favourite literary prize.
The winner of the 2010 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is Molly Ringle of Seattle, Washington is the 2010 winner of the prize. Ms Ringle is already the author of one published novel, The Ghost Downstairs (which Amazon readers have given an average rating of 4.5 out of 5), and has another two in the pipe-line. She claims to only write bad fiction when she fails at good fiction but refuses to disclose how often this happens.
Here is the winning entry : For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss–a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil.
And I’m pleased to be able to report that there was one Australian entrant, John Mackesy of Victoria, who got a prestigious dishonourable mention for : Faintly silhouetted against the shadowy murk of a nameless Devonian sea, the Megalodont shark was unaware of trilobites foraging in the primordial ooze not far below, trilobites that unlike the shark’s cartilaginous being would become part of the fossil record of an ancient seabed that would in time heave up, dry out and go through the crusher at the Marulan Cement Works somewhere north of Sydney, Australia.
Here’s a couple I really liked :
She walked into my office wearing a body that would make a man write bad checks, but in this paperless age you would first have to obtain her ABA Routing Transit Number and Account Number and then disable your own Overdraft Protection in order to do so – Steve Lynch
Cynthia had washed her hands of Philip McIntyre – not like you wash your hands in a public restroom when everyone is watching you to see if you washed your hands but like washing your hands after you have been working in the garden and there is dirt under your fingernails — dirt like Philip McIntyre -Linda Boatright
I’ve met a few Philip McIntyre’s myself . . . Anyway, enough hilarity, if you want to read all the winners, runners-up and dishonourable mentions take a look at the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest website.