Monday, July 19, 2010


Seattle scored the grand prize in this year's Bulwer-Lytton contest with this entry by Molly Ringle:

"For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss—a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil."

Contest judge Scott Rice, a professor at San Jose State University, praised her "outlandishly inappropriate comparison" to the Seattle Times. "It is a send-up of writers who try too hard to be original, and it is a send-up of those revolting couples whose public displays of affection make them poster children for celibacy," he said.

Victorian novelist Edward Bulwer Lytton, author of the words "The pen is mightier than the sword," wrote the following in his novel Paul Clifford (1830):

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents—except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

This first line of his novel is what led the English department at San Jose State University to create this hilarious (and painful) annual contest in his name.