Sometimes the Best Writing Is Also the Worst


Garrison Spik, a forty-one-year-old communications director from Washington, D.C., has been named the winner of the 26th annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest, which celebrates some of the year's worst prose writing. Spik received the highest honor for penning the overall worst opening line of an imaginary novel.

Spik's winning opener 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.'"

The contest, established in 1982 by the English and comparative literature department at San Jose State University, honors the Victorian writer Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, who opened his novel Paul Clifford with the famous phrase, "It was a dark and stormy night."

Additional winning lines and "dishonorable mentions" in categories including purple prose, history, science fiction, and romance are on view at the Bulwer-Lytton contest Web site.