The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for awful novel opening lines

18 December 2022

Not a literary award at all, more of an anti-literary award really, the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (BLFC), which has been running since its inception at San Jose State University in 1982. But unlike the literary awards we are more familiar with, the Bulwer-Lytton recognises terrible writing, and envisages the worst possible opening sentences to what will be awful novels.

Joe Tussey, from Daniels, in the U.S. state of West Virginia, was named winner in the 2022 adventure category, for this opener:

“Hoist the mainsail ye accursed swine” shouted the Captain over the roar of the waves as the ship was tossed like a cork dropped from a wine bottle into a jacuzzi when the faucet is wide open and the jets are running full blast and one has just settled into the water with a glass of red wine to ease the aches and pains after a day of hard labor raking leaves from the front yard.

The BLFC accepts nominations, the usual categories, including fiction, crime, and young adult, in the form of the worst paragraph you can devise, all through the year.


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