Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bulwer-Lytton prize for bad writing goes to 'inappropriate' gerbil sentence

Award for world's worst writing goes to author Molly Ringle's comparison of a lovers' kiss with the sucking of a thirsty rodent

 
A gerbil in a cage
Love rat ... Judges praised Molly Ringle for her gerbil-based lampooning of public displays of affection. Photograph: Paul Brown/Rex Features

A sentence comparing a kiss to the sucking of a very thirsty gerbil has won Seattle-based novelist Molly Ringle the world's worst writing contest.

Ringle, who says she only writes bad fiction when she fails at good fiction, took the Bulwer-Lytton prize for the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels yesterday with: "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."

Given annually since 1982, the competition, sponsored by the English department at San Jose State University, is inspired by the melodramatic first line of Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton's 1830 novel Paul Clifford: "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."

Ringle, the author of the published novel The Ghost Downstairs, in which the romance between a nurse and a houseboy is played out against growing paranormal activity, is the 28th winner of the contest. "I feel quite ridiculous. But there are definitely worse ways to get 15 minutes of fame," she wrote on her blog.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jun/30/bulwer-lytton-worlds-worst-writing

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