Friday 6 December 2019

How to win . . . by slaughtering the English language and birds

Mitch hopper in San Jose, California

A sentence in which tiny birds and the English language are both slaughtered took top honours on Monday in an annual bad writing contest.

Sue Fondrie of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, won the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for her sentence comparing forgotten memories to dead sparrows, said San Jose State University professor Scott Rice.

The annual contest asks writers to submit the worst possible opening sentences to imaginary novels.

Ms Fondrie wrote: "Cheryl's mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories."

The University of Wisconsin professor's 26-word sentence is the shortest grand prize winner in the contest's 29-year history, Mr Rice said.

The contest is named after British author Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, whose 1830 novel 'Paul Clifford' begins with the often quoted opening line "It was a dark and stormy night."

Irish Independent

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