2006 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest Winner

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:

"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."

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."

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.

It was a dark and stormy night...  Photo Hosted at Buzznet.comThe 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.


Mike said...

Yep, Jim Guigli deserves the award, especially after submitting 64 times. He's equally as good as that guy Dan McKay from last year: "As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire ..."

But my personal favorite is still from Rachel E. Sheeley, the 1988 winner:

"Like an expensive sports car, fine-tuned and well-built, Portia was sleek, shapely, and gorgeous, her red jumpsuit molding her body, which was as warm as the seatcovers in July, her hair as dark as new tires, her eyes flashing like bright hubcaps, and her lips as dewy as the beads of fresh rain on the hood; she was a woman driven--fueled by a single accelerant--and she needed a man, a man who wouldn't shift from his views, a man to steer her along the right road, a man like Alf Romeo."


Paul Clifford said...

The entries this year were really crap/great, including the Runner-Up and Dishonorable Mentions. Anyone know if they're going to publish them this year? Maybe we'll all get lucky and see the show up in our local book stores like they did before.


Looks like some of the older ones are still available on Amazon.com. Trying to put the link in here, but don't know how - sorry!

Det. Bart Lasiter said...

Looks like they've posted a picture of Jim Guigli, the 2006 Grand Prize Winner, on the Bulwer-Lytton site. Nice photo, too.

Rachel said...

I'm glad my work is still your favorite.
All these years later, it still brings me "fame."
I'm still writing, reporting for a mid-size newspaper.