The winner of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for 2006 has been announced.
Jim Guigli of Carmichael, California, submitted 64 entries into this year's annual contest, which is sponsored by the English Department at San Jose State University. Mr. Guigli is a retired mechanical designer who impressed the judges with his "appalling powers of invention," according to Scott Rice, a professor in SJSU's Department of English and Comparative Literature.
Here's a sample of the entry which gave him top honors in this years contest:
Guigli is said to have commented that he had aspired to write detective novels at one time but, "I never got a good start on it."
"Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean."
Professor Scott Rice has organized the bad writing contest since its inception in 1982. Since then, it has drawn thousands of entries each year, and the judging has been covered quite extensively by the press.
Guigli will receive the traditional "pittance" (said to be $250.00) as a reward for his winning entry. Guess that now raises him from the ranks of an amateur to a professional writers.
The annual contest is named for Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, whose 1830 novel "Paul Clifford" began with the frequently-mocked beginning, "It was a dark and stormy night."
It should also be noted that in his day, Bulwer-Lytton was possibly more popular than Charles Dickens, who was a contemporary. The line was also made popular by Snoopy's typewriter excursions in the Peanuts comic strip by the late Charles M. Schulz.
There's an extraordinary Lyttony of Grand Prize Winners which lists all of the winners since 1983, and some of these entries are truly extraordinary, including this jewel from 1992 by Laurel Fortuner:
"As the newest Lady Turnpot descended into the kitchen wrapped only in her celery-green dressing gown, her creamy bosom rising and falling like a temperamental souffle, her tart mouth pursed in distaste, the sous-chef whispered to the scullery boy, 'I don't know what to make of her.'"
Note to Professor Rice: though the verb "google" is now recognized by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it doesn't list the word "lyttony" but it can be seen being used (perhaps improperly) in a few areas in the 'Net. Is this word perhaps just a 1st Baron Lytton pun on "litany" or am I a bit off track here?
Congratulations to Jim Guigli, the 2006 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest winner!
And our lexidiem is lyttony.