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2009 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest Winners

For 27 years, the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest has been urging readers to send along the best of the worst opening lines for fictitious novels. They are always bad… which is good. And the best are really punny, even funny.

David McKenzie won this year’s contest. You can click through to read his entry. But I actually preferred the runner-up, so I include it below, plus a few others. If you do click through to their site, you can read all of the winners and runners-up in all the various categories.

This year’s Runner-Up was by Warren Blair:

The wind dry-shaved the cracked earth like a dull razor–the double edge kind from the plastic bag that you shouldn’t use more than twice, but you do; but Trevor Earp had to face it as he started the second morning of his hopeless search for Drover, the Irish Wolfhound he had found as a pup near death from a fight with a prairie dog and nursed back to health, stolen by a traveling circus so that the monkey would have something to ride.

Greg Homer’s “Vile Pun” category winner:

Using her flint knife to gut the two amphibians, Kreega the Neanderthal woman created the first pair of open-toad sandals.

Eric Rice won the “Detective” category with:

She walked into my office on legs as long as one of those long-legged birds that you see in Florida – the pink ones, not the white ones – except that she was standing on both of them, not just one of them, like those birds, the pink ones, and she wasn’t wearing pink, but I knew right away that she was trouble, which those birds usually aren’t.

One of my favorite “Dishonorable Mentions” this year was penned by Dan Blaufuss:

As Lieutenant Baker shrank his lips back to their normal size, he tried desperately to think of a situation in which his new-found power might be useful, as have I, your narrator.

The Bad Sex Award of Fiction

The Literary Review has released the shortlist for this year’s Bad Sex in Fiction award. The award is designed to

“…gently dissuading authors and publishers from including unconvincing, perfunctory, embarrassing or redundant passages of a sexual nature in otherwise sound literary novels”.

Here is the shortlist, in full:

James Buchan for The Gate of Air
Simon Montefiore for Sashenka
John Updike for The Widows of Eastwick
Kathy Lette for To Love, Honour and Betray
Alastair Campbell for All in the Mind
Rachel Johnson for Shire Hell
Isabel Fonseca for Attachment
Ann Allestree for Triptych of a Young Wolf
Russell Banks for The Reserve
Paulo Coelho for Brida

Last year’s winner was Norman Mailer and it was well deserved. This year’s winner will be awarded the Plaster Foot award November 25th.

{the Guardian}

Book Cover Winner Announced

Matt Taylor won the Penguin cover design competition we mentioned last week, for Sam Taylor’s The Island at the End of the World. Congratulations to him! It is, no doubt, one of the cleanest and well executed designs submitted, with some very complex imagery…

Matt Taylor cover

It’s almost too much. The synopsis just seemed to call for a simpler more representative image. But then my skills as an illustrator are often challenged by sitting in the floor coloring with my two-year-old.

Thanks to BDR for spilling the beans on the winners (because I sure couldn’t find any updates online). Click through to see the runners-up and such, too.

2008 Bulwer-Lytton winner

This is the 26th year of the Bulwer-Lytton contest, aimed at finding the best of the worst opening lines to imaginary novels. The winner is pretty good, but I enjoyed the “Spy Fiction” Winner and Runner-Up better. So I copied them below as well. I mean the Spy Novel winner is baaaaaad and the Runner-Up is just to punny to pass up.

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