Lifestyle & Belief

UK's Cathy Bryant wins best bad writer contest


Cathy Bryant from Manchester, UK wins the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for the best bad opening line to an imaginary novel.


Matt Cardy

Lovers of cringe-worthy prose, rejoice! A new winner has been crowned in The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which scours the globe to find the best writer of the worst-possible opening sentence to a novel.

According to the Irish Times, the 2012 prize went to Manchester UK author Cathy Bryant who came up with this stunner:

“As he told her that he loved her she gazed into his eyes, wondering, as she noted the infestation of eyelash mites, the tiny deodicids burrowing into his follicles to eat the greasy sebum therein, each female laying up to 25 eggs in a single follicle, causing inflammation, whether the eyes are truly the windows of the soul; and if so, his soul needed regrouting.”

The contest is an annual competition sponsored by the English department at San Jose State University, reports the Huffington Post. The contest started in 1982 and is named for the Victorian novelist Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, who wrote one of the most quoted opening lines in all of literature, "It was a dark and stormy night," from the novel Paul Clifford.

Two Californians also submitted winning entries, according to the UK's Daily Mail newspaper.

Greg Homer, from Placerville, California, penned this beauty:

'The stifling atmosphere inside the Pink Dolphin Bar in the upper Amazon Basin carried barely enough oxygen for a man to survive – humid and thick the air was and full of little flying bugs, making the simple act of breathing like trying to suck hot Campbell’s Bean with Bacon soup through a paper straw.'

The Grand Panjandrum's Special Award went to David Pepper of Hermosa Beach, California. His opening line managed to include urine, feces and wedding vows.

'As an ornithologist, George was fascinated by the fact that urine and feces mix in birds’ rectums to form a unified, homogeneous slurry that is expelled through defecation, although eying Greta's face, and sensing the reaction of the congregation, he immediately realized he should have used a different analogy to describe their relationship in his wedding vows.'

The contest doled out prizes in categories from “general” to detective, western, science fiction, romance, and even children's.