The literary world is, of course, awash in prizes: the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Nobel Prize for Literature. Yet, dig deep into the muck and you'll find one more, a hotly contested prize that produces amazing winners every year:
The Bulwer-Lytton Prize.
The award memorializes Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), a British novelist phenomenally popular in his own day, but now remembered mostly for two things: The Last Days of Pompeii, and the fact that he actually started a novel (Paul Clifton) with the words, "It was a dark and stormy night." Therefore, in his, um, honor, the Bulwer-Lytton Prize is awarded each year to the worst opening sentence of an imaginary novel. The results for this year's contest were recently announced, and the Grand Prize Winner was Garrison Spik, who lives, appropriately enough, in Washington, DC. And, without further ado, here is Mr. Spik's winning 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 Brothers, Piscataway, N.J.'"
In addition to the Grand Prize Winner, there were several runners-up, as well as winners chosen in categories such as science fiction, mysteries, and westerns. The complete, astonishing, list of winning entries can be found here.